France-based afro R&B and folk musician Shannel Nirere popularly known as Miss Shanel plans to revive her music career after a long hiatus.
Her song titled Inkera has been playing recently in most radio stations.
Miss Shanel co-wrote the song with the late Minani Rwema, but features new vocals and live instruments. It is off her debut album Ndarota, which was released in 2008. The song seeks to remind Rwandans about who they are and what unites them.
Miss Shanel made a name for herself through singles Ndarota, Ubufundo and through collaborations with Uganda’s Meshach Ssemakula and Kenya’s Wyre.
She first took a break from the music scene in in 2012, when she left to pursue a 12-month course in vocal training at Centre d’tudes Superieures Musique et Danse de Poitou-Charentes, a conservatoire Music school in France.
She got married shortly after completing her studies in France, which changed her priorities. “After becoming a wife and a mother, it has become harder to go out and perform in concerts or other cultural events as often as I would like because I have to take care of my two daughters,” she said.
In 2013, Miss Shanel met Maxime Moro, a base guitarist and her former schoolmate in Atla in Paris.
They partnered to work on her project in September 2016. Maxime Pichon, a guitarist and music producer, joined them to form a band. Benjamin Gonçalves, a percussionist, joined the band last and they have been recording singles and music videos.
“It is so inspiring and enriching to work on a song with different musicians and to record it live when the time comes,” she said.
“As we grow, we are trying new ways to improve and that’s what I am trying to do with my music by staying true to myself and to my convictions in terms of the message of my songs and the music production,” Miss Shanel added.
The artiste also has a long film career, but growing that craft while juggling her personal life and music career has also been difficult for her.
Her acting career, which spans almost 10 years, has seen her star in several films that include The Mercy Of The Jungle (2018), Grey Matter by Kivu Ruhorahoza (2010), Long Coat by Edouard Bamporiki (2009), The Day God Walked Away by Philippe Van Leeuw (2008) and more.
Her latest film project, due out this year, is The Mercy of the Jungle, a French-Belgian production directed by Rwandan film maker Joel Karekezi. It also stars great acts like Marc Zinga, Stephane Bak and Ibrahim Ahmed.
Miss Shanel is keen on honing her live performances through strong vocals and music arrangement, which she feels will increase her appeal.
Miss Shanel and her band are currently working on an EP, while also seeking financial support to finish production of a 12-song album. The songs include Igisingizo, which is a fusion of jazz, blues and traditional Rwandan chanting, typically known as Uguhogoza.
Miss Shanel last performed in the country in early 2016, at the Isano Festival. She next performed at Birmingham palace in Belgium alongside Kenya group Sauti Sol in September 2016.
She believes African music can be a source of economic advancement. “For that to happen, the government needs to get involved especially in helping artistes protect their intellectual property,” said Miss Shanel.