Every year for the past three years, Primus, one of Rwanda’s beers, hosts an American Idol-like music competition called Primus Guma Guma Superstar. “Guma Guma” means “Stay, Stay” in Kinyarwanda, although in this context, it usually means “stay and drink.” Primus selects 10 abastari of the Rwandan music scene to be in the competition every year, and then they perform at concerts all around the country. Rwandans can vote by text for their favorite, and then the top 5 singers advance to the final.
I went to my first Primus Guma Guma Superstar (abbreviated to PGGSS) show in Kigali several weeks ago. There were hundreds of (mostly young) Rwandans there. Some carried signs supporting their favorite singer, and vendors sold little bracelets with the names of the abastari on them. Some friends, my brother, and I got into the VIP area, with the perks of free Primus and excellent views of the stage.
Primus Guma Guma Superstar is always a popular event among Peace Corps volunteers, and this year was no exception. Unfortunately, our good time was marred by a string of thefts at the event—which apparently happened last year as well. This year, two Peace Corps volunteers lost iphones, and two had their wallets stolen. One of my friends was able to track her phone, but when she went to the police station and showed them that she knew where it was, the police demanded that she pay 20,000 francs, and then they refused to leave their office because it was the weekend. Not cool.
My friend Alex and I headed up to the front near the stage to dance and enjoy the show. At the end of the show, they announced the winners, starting with number 5 to build up the drama. Riderman was eventually crowned the 2013 Primus Guma Guma Superstar, which also earned him 24 million Rwandan francs and some promotion deals. Fireworks went off, some Rwandans threw their cups of beer up in the air in celebration, and a kid next to us actually got down on his knees and thanked God for crowning Riderman the champion. Talk about dedicated fans…
|"Turi Kumwe" means "We are Together" in Kinyarwanda|
So in the name of cultural exchange, here’s a small sampling of some popular Rwandan songs for your listening pleasure!*
Video Footage of Primus Guma Guma Superstar 3:
Rwandan hits:Kina Music All Stars, "Kanda Amazi": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xb2ilA6apiU
King James, "Pala Pala": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C2oCG-dc3PM
Kitoko, "Akabuto": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tmbVfb6Etq4
Meddy, "Oya ma": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9OAHphKrco8
Riderman, "Bombori Bombori": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OvrupA9jOdI
Knowless, "Nzabampari" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=afo9OCVawuY
Urban Boyz, "Kelele" : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TmtDzNPxMh4
And some popular African hits:P-Square (from Nigeria): "Alingo": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4yuZ-w90cGk
P-Square, "Chop My Money": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZslcTuKYeDk
Fuse ODG, (British of Ghanaian descent) "Antenna": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6LCoksSQMzs
Fuse ODG, "Azonto": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VetNdbu-ZNc
Kigoma All-Stars (from Tanzania ), "Leka Dutigite": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z7WkjTfYkmg
*I tried to find videos that were PG rated or just audio. Some are the original music video, some are not; if you want to see the original music videos, I'm sure youtube can help you with that.