We're going to introduce you to a guitarist named Popo Murigande. His nickname is Mighty Popo. He's originally from Rwanda. But he's been living in Canada for the past 20 years. He's still writing songs about his homeland, though -- particularly the rebuilding of Rwanda after the 1994 genocide. Sarah Elzas produced this profile of Mighty Popo -- in his own words.
I've been making my music in Canada for the last 20 years, let's say. You know, so really this is Canadian music with a different angle- to it.
My name is Popo Murigande, otherwise known as the Mighty Popo. Popo is my nickname from the time I was very young. Mighty is courtesy of a guy I used to play with Larry Mootham, a great harmonica blues player. So, he would introduce everybody on stage as Mighty so and so. The minute he said Might Popo, everybody started calling me Mighty Popo.
I'm originally from Rwanda, I was born in Burundi, and now I live in Canada.
Mostly I sing in my mother-tongue language which is Kinyarwanda, a language from Rwanda. I also sing in Swahili.
I sing about reality here and abroad. Just universal love and- about what's going on in the world.
Rwanda is a beautiful country. As they say, 'The country of a thousand hills'. Unfortunately many people know Rwanda as a country of just mayhem and genocide. Yes, it happened, and it happened while the whole world sat and watched.
Muhazi talks about the beauty of Rwanda, and really what Rwanda is and Rwanda was before it was destroyed. And Muhazi is a beautiful lake in Eastern Rwanda, where I wrote the lyrics of this song.
It's like a praise to my country, just to make sure that people know about Rwanda- the Rwanda of beauty and uh- the place where the Nile take it's father source. And according to the Bible, if you believe in the Bible, it's where life begun. That is my Rwanda.
Rwa Gasabo, it's another song to remind my brothers and sisters in Rwanda to try and help build this country. The country of sweet melodies, where my folks are from.
The country where now you have a government has a will to change things politically, economically. To try and build the people. And not only the people of Rwanda; Rwanda wants to be an example to the rest of Africa. Stand up and know yourself. Don't go begging to the Europeans, the Americans. Do what you can do with- the little that you have, is much, much more than the big money and whatnot of the rich nations. Your soul, your intelligence. Be proud of yourselves.
I grew up listening to all kind of music. African music- Because we're neighbors with the Congo, and Congo has a lot of music. South African music, west African music, east African music. And also a lot of rhythm and blues, jazz, reggae. We listen to also a lot of French tunes, because Burundi and Rwanda being Belgium colonies. I used to listen to Moustaki. I like Edith Piaf. Probably one of my favorites.
I'm into- really what they call World Music today.
I'm into the art. I'm into poetry. That's really where I find my peace, you know, my serenity. I've never been tempted to doing mainstream music.
I will do what I do because I'm happy uh- live a simple life, and uh- play the music I like.
Rwandan musician Mighty Popo. Our profile was produced by Sarah Elzas.