Afro-folk music takes its rightful place in Kampala

Saturday March 14 2020

Congolese singer-songwriter Céline Banza,

Congolese singer-songwriter Céline Banza, 23, winner of the 2019 Radio France International Discoveries Music Award. She performed in Kampala on March 7, 2020. PHOTO | ANDREW KAGWA 

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Celine Banza sings in Ngbandi, Lingala and French. She won the Radio France International award for her song Te Rembi which means “My body”, about asserting her value as a woman.


What was your reaction on winning the 2019 RFI Discoveries Music Award?

It was a pleasure for me and my country. DR Congo is a country of musicians yet this was the first time for someone from my country to win this award. And being a woman, I am representing and inspiring many young Africans.

How will this award promote your music and career?

For example, I am now touring Africa and Europe as part of the benefits of winning this award, supported by the French Institute, my label Bomaye Musik and Yuma Production.


How would describe your musical journey so far?

I am rediscovering myself and I have met new people. Everything I have discovered has improved my music.

How is it being female and a musician?

I disagree with the stereotype that music is for men. For me it is about talent and hard work. Where I used to put in one hour in my work now I put in two.

What would you have been if you were not a musician?

Music is all I wanted in my life. It was always my dream to be a musician.

How would you describe the type of music you play?

I play folk-pop or Afro-folk. This is a mixture of African traditional music with modern rhythms.

What do you sing about in your music?

I sing about my life, peace, deception, separation, all I see around me, in my country and in my travels around the world.

How does your experience as an actress, performer, dancer and video maker contribute to your music?

It has helped me rediscover myself and has given me a different perception of the various talents. I express myself differently when I sing, shoot a video or when I perform comedy.

Who are the musicians that have influenced you the most?

Lokua Kanza, Asa, Richard Bona, Sarah Tavares, Papa Wemba and Koffi Olomide among others, and I still discover other artists I like.

What challenges does the music industry in DR Congo face?

We don’t have a copyright collection society or a law regulating the industry. Lack of a copyright law means there is no protection against piracy.

What plans do you have for the future?

I will continue touring. I will soon release my first album Praefatio under my music label Bomaye Musik.

What does performing in Uganda for the first time mean to you?

It was my dream to come here and discover East Africa. I am very happy.