Cecile Kayirebwa

'Little bird of Buganza, be quite. I will rub you with perfume. The time to hate you is as far as the moon. The time to love you so close’

So sings the queen of Rwandan music, Cécile Kayirebwa. Buganza is a beautiful hilly region in North Eastern Rwanda, where Cécile worked as a social worker in the 1960s. It was there that she formed a choir to interpret traditional Rwandan songs and preserve a musical culture that was fast evaporating.


Cecile Kayirebwa | Market FiftyFour 

Cecile's impact on Rwanda

Cécile Kayirebwa large body of work has had a considerable impact and influence on society in Rwanda and the diaspora abroad throughout the country’s recent history. As a young interpreter of classical and traditional material in the 1960, Rwandans appreciated her honeyed and crystal clear voice and ability to create stunning vocal harmony overlays during her performances.

Forced into exiled in the 1970s with her family, she flew to Belgium where she kept a low profile working day and night as a nurse and social worker to raise a family in her new surroundings. Her love for traditional pastoral culture and desire to express her creativity still lingered and she dedicated several months to meticulously research field recordings from colonial times owned and stored at the Tervuren Africa Museum.


 Back to Rwanda

Kayirebwa brought her full creative energy back to Rwanda in 2014 and worked intensively with the movers and shakers in today’s cultural and entertainment industry. Young artists, musicians and vocalists had the opportunity to perform alongside Kayirebwa after intense weeks of training during which the revered entertainer generously and dutifully passed on her knowledge and tricks of the trade.


Commemorating through Music

To mark the 20th commemoration of the Rwandan Genocide, award-winner Cécile Kayirebwa produced her 7th studio album- IMYAKA 20 ISHIZE (20 Years Later) – a compilation of carefully selected tracks written before, during and after the 1994 Genocide.


Kinyarwanda Poetry

WOW UTUMA MPIMBA! This is the name of our newest poetry collection by the legendary Cecile Kayirebwa! And, it's now online in Kinyarwanda! The English and French poems will be online in October. 

Cecile | Poetry | Kinyarwanda | Market FiftyFour

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