Urbansong lives and works in Kigali, Rwanda as a dancer and an educator. We asked him to talk about his area, art and his community there.
Beatfreeks: Hi Urbansong! Can you tell us a little about Kigali and Rwanda?
Urbansong: I love the landscape, the people, the smiles, the cultures , the dances, the vibrations of my country, the cleanliness, the government. I love my country a lot and all about my country. We have come from a very dark place and it always overwhelms me to see how far we are.
Beatfreeks: Can you describe the creative scene there?
Urbansong: The creative scene is small but growing fast everyday, new spaces and communities are trying hard to revive and create art in everyday possible, this was not easy to do especially due to Covid 19 restrictions but Rwandan creative scene has been creative in using virtual platform to grow and though it is still not the easiest way, it has had its benefits.
Beatfreeks: How strong is the creative community there?
Urbansong: The creative community faces several challenges from not having enough funds or capital, to covid restrictions, economic crisis , lack of schools that teach art , and so on but this does not stop us from doing what we love, inspiring and pushing through. It actually pushes us to work harder and be more resilient and focused.
Beatfreeks: Do you feel like there is enough support for artists?
Urbansong: There is room to grow when it comes to supporting artists especially financially and respecting art in general. As I mentioned before, our country has been through immense loss through the genocide against Tutsi in 1994, this has affect the finance of our country hence it affect greatly the art financial growth, Art is not considered as a priority regardless of how it has exceptionally helped our country heal and move forward. But we hope that this will change soon enough.
Beatfreeks: Moving forward in a post-Covid world, what are your hopes for art and the creative community in Kigali and Rwanda?
Urbansong: My hopes are to see art changes people’s lives for the better, I am hopeful that art will help people gain financial freedom, and art will participate in my country financial growth also and hopefully that art will become a profitable career and also personally I hope that my work will pave a way for the younger generation and that it will reduce the struggle of making it through will still being self sustainable.
Beatfreeks: How important is art and creativity to society?
Urbansong: Art is very important to the society because art heals artists, releases tension, provokes important conversations, art gives a voice to many communities, some form of art heals many mental health issues, art gives people a voice to not only see themselves reflected but also art has been used in important and necessary movements, art brings together community together , art always transmission and representation of culture and so much more.
Beatfreeks: Thanks for your insight Urbansong, looking forward to see what you do in the future!
Discover more of The Urbansong’s work here.