Audio

Video: Hope Masike 'Because of You' + 'Tioneo Shewe'

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“Growing up in Zimbabwe was one of the best things that happened to me. Much as I would have loved to (like many other people) grow up in a country with a better economy and better socio-political environment … I am who I am because I grew up in Zimbabwe,” says Hope Masike. The mbira-player and vocalist, a graduate from the Zimbabwe College of Music, is one of the most promising voices from the troubled country’s new guard of musicians. ”Where we come from is a definite determining factor of what inspires us” she adds.

Currently on tour in France to promote her second album, Mbira, Love and Chocolate, her sound – a fusion of mbira harmonies with influences ranging from jazz, blues and gospel – has been shaped by luminaries of Zimbabwean traditional music such as Forward Kwenda, Stella Chiweshe, Beula Djoko and Chiwoniso Maraire — the artist she most closely resembles. ”I also somehow fell hopelessly in love with jazz greats” she said. “My most inspirational happen to be the vocalists; like Rachelle Ferelle, Miss Nina Simone, Billie Holiday, Fats Waller” and many others.

Watch her videos for "Because of You" (above) and "Tioneo Shewe" (below), a prayer to God asking him “to see his children and ease their suffering.”

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Music

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Musicians like Bushali, Kivumbi King, Rita Ange Kagaju, and Alyn Sano have been putting their mark on the ever-changing Rwandan soundscape.

The current landscape of modern Rwandan music is more dynamic than ever before, from updated versions of traditional folk sounds to the recent 'KinyaTrap' phenomenon that has permeated playlists across the country. For decades, Rwandan airwaves have been dominated by international hits — and by a handful of established Rwandan superstars — but now, as the country continues to develop and diversify, so does its musical setting, with new and different sounds ascending from the hills. The past five years have seen the emergence of an army of young artists eager to reclaim their languages (Rwanda has four official languages) and identity, interlacing their music with influences that stretch far and wide.

Here are 11 artists that have emerged in the past five years to put their mark on the ever-changing Rwandan soundscape.

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