Congolese singer spreads the cheer in East Africa

Saturday May 11 2024

Freed Mushaga performs at Alliance Francais Kampala, Uganda. PHOTO | POOL


Up-and-coming Congolese singer Freed Mushaga has big dreams. The African soul/pop musician first made a foray into the music industry in 2020 and is now well-known in his home area, Bukavu in the war-ravaged eastern region.

In Bukavu, Mushaga has performed at festivals, including the Izulu and the Halle de la Gombe music festivals, both held in 2021.

In 2022, he was signed by the East African Records in Kampala, and recorded a couple of songs. His maiden five-track LP was released at the end of 2022, featuring songs such as Yowe, Come Now, Momo and Cheka Cheka.

Mushaga sings in a mixture of languages, including English, Kiswahili and Congolese dialects. His music is hard to categorise, as it is a mixture of genres.

Read: Voice of hope amid political chaos

He was a finalist in the Nigerian Challenge #SixtyPercentofUs 2022. Back home in eastern Congo, he was nominated one of the Top 100 most influential personalities in South Kivu — all in a space of one year.


Mushaga began his regional tour in February, and his first stop was at the Sofar Sounds in Kigali, a unique arts space — “a global music community that connects artistes and audiences through live music.”

Nicknamed “Momo’s Grandson,” Mushaga says the social cause is the driving force of his music.

"I like to align myself with humanity and the causes, the good causes, that are close to humanity’s heart. The very interpellator Black History Month is one of them: An opportunity to rehash, to learn and to evolve,” Mushaga said after his Kigali performance.

After the show, SOFAR SOUNDS took to Instagram to applaud the rising Congolese star: “We were thrilled to host the talented @Freedmushaga. Originally from eastern DRC (Bukavu), Freed mixes African Soul/Pop with jazz influences, creating a unique fusion.

Influenced by legends like Ella Fitzgerald and African icons like Youssou N'dour, his music carries messages of peace and love. His performance took us on a journey of song and dance.”

On April 30, Mushaga performed live at the Marahaba Jazzday in Bujumbura, where he shared the stage with regional artists like Arena from Burundi, Ricky & Marafiki Band from Kenya and Seghito & Band from Tanzania.

Form Bujumbura, Mushaga is currently in Kampala refining his musical projects that have been in progress since early 2023 – and is also performing regularly on stage at the Kalabash Series, a monthly multidisciplinary event evolving in the Ugandan capital city.

Mushaga has in the meantime announced the upcoming release of his first video clip Come Now and an international collaboration entitled Safari, which he hopes to ride on to achieve more fame in the region – and his talent and commitment surely make him an artist to follow closely. Mushaga’s aura and his music promise to radiate even further, inspiring and bringing together people across the continent.