Thursday 25 February 2021
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newtimes - 2 days ago

Album review: Diana Teta’s ‘Iwanyu’ - a breath of fresh air

IT TOOK DIANA TETA, an eleven member band, months of rehearsals, and unbridled passion to successfully create such a slice-of-life album titled Iwanyu. From mainstream to a catholic creative industry, on March 15, last year, Teta Diana, a young Rwandan singer and songwriter who could write any genre of music and vibe it like no one else used her unsurpassed flair for songwriting and created the most diversified musical album, so far ever in Rwanda. At least in my opinion! I have been a guitarist for seven years now and my early dreams were to play for Teta Diana before I ushered in on a solo career. Positively in 2020, Covid-19 reminded me to listen to other genres of music aside from my usual instrumentals playlists, acquired a new habit to listen to albums one at a time and drew my attention to Iwanyu album that gets more versatile and culturally rich as the genres, rhythms and message vary but going really deeper with diversity as opposed to how Teta is now mostly known for traditional songs. Musicality I started working on this album in 2017 and it’s fulfilling to know that it exists today and as a full live record. Any instrument you hear is a human touch and natural dynamics from a band of eleven musicians that we rehearsed together for four months. I really put in all I had from message, and melody to structure and Didier Touch whom I worked with for more than ten years helped with arrangement. I m so indebted to the whole team that was a part of the journey. Says Teta. Iwanyu album cover.  Music is like breathing, we exhale what we inhale but exhaled air smells differently depending on who and that s the beauty of Teta’s music. It’s like she listened to Richard Bona, Khadja Nin, Cécile Kayirebwa, Kool and the Gang, Chronixx, Toumani Diabaté, Rugamba Cyprien and Gonzalo Bergara Quartet sorta playlist along with learning history and living her own experience just to create “Iwanyu” album in its own way that it is. Song writing Aside from being such a great musical artist, Teta creatively writes songs from day to day life experience, conversations and more. Like See me is a song on the album that calls out racism and is inspired by her experienceabroad. She also spends a lot of time researching Rwandan History as a part of her creative writing process. Her song None n ejo talks about Nyampinga, ( Traditionally a girl who would get married to a man from the neighbouring hill to end the conflict. ) a girl from a thousand hills country with rare ability to call the tune and harmoniously unite society.  Birangwa , a very nostalgic song with such eloquent lyrics dedicated to his father and all those missing theirs dearly. Titled the same as the Album Iwanyu and poem Ijuru ryanjye explain why nowhere is like home, Teta shares especially her affinity for Rwanda s Gasabo surroundings. The tracklist goes on with love songs and her popular song Ndaje that talk about the history of Rwanda and encourage new generations to contribute to a better future of unity and humanity. Production If you re to work on album project that will last three years, you re surely going to face challenges be financial, geo boundaries and become more of a victim if you re like myself who doesn t want to let her creativity get limited by labels (because who pays for something ofcourse controls it) but rather keep on fine-tuning the process independently and enjoy the results as much because you know the hustle it takes Said Teta I believe that you can t force writing, you need to be inspired first and if I run out of inspiration I would take time to recharge unlike being label s money machine. Also self-management enlightens me so much about the music industry and gets me better at it everyday. And the roadmap is clearer that I, myself get to know exactly who consumes my music. She adds. Iwanyu CDs are currently on sale and my signed copy stroke a chord with me by just how even creative and professional was the design from cover, lyrics book which features sign language saying Iwanyu and to the middle pages with Illustration that shows the harmony between Rwanda and Belgium. Buying Iwanyu Album on streaming platforms and giving it undivided attention, is only a reveal of the hidden legacy in the making. Teta’s debut mini-album (EP) of four songs including recent release Agashinge is coming out soon. Know what s what about it.


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