Rwanda: Blame Game as Artists Accuse DJs of Not Playing Rwandan Music

Last week, musician Uncle Austin accused some DJs of not playing Rwandan music, calling them 'ambassadors of foreign music' because their playlists are dominated by songs of foreign musicians.

"But why do Rwandan DJs, the 'established' ones, not play music of Rwanda artists? It's as if you guys are ambassadors of other countries [music]…," tweeted Austin who thanked some DJs who always show their love for Rwandan music as they frequently include it in their playlists.

"It's ok to play others but at least play your country's people too, it can't bring you any harm," he added.

It's a claim that more local artists and renowned showbiz presenters jumped on, appealing to DJs to put Rwandan music first on their playlists so as to give it a push for an international exposure.

Uncle Austin claimed that it is so sad that Rwandan DJs are more interested in promoting other countries' music and care less or nothing about the music of their birth country.

"Our DJs must know that Rwandan artists are so sad. Those who say that local music is of low quality are just making up excuses and I can proudly confirm that Rwandan music is even better than that of artists from other countries that they are playing," Uncle Austin told The New Times.

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The singer, who doubles as a radio presenter at KISS FM, expressed his gratitude towards some DJs who value and play Rwandan music like DJ Brianne, DJ Bisoso and DJ Phil Peter just to mention a few.

DJs Marnaud and Toxxyk top the list of DJs who rarely play Rwandan music unless they are featured in other artists' collaborations.

"Not promoting local music isn't being high-class people or civilized in any way. Artists and deejays should be working closely for the best of the future of the music industry at large," Austin said of Marnaud and Toxxyk.

Blame game

Female DJ Brianne is one of local deejays whose playlists are dominated by Rwandan music.

She makes sure that music by Rwandan artistes comes first before thinking about playing foreign music.

However, she claimed that DJs are not recognized for the work they do in promoting Rwandan music, blaming artistes for only minding about promoting their music yet they refuse to promote DJs' work when they need them most while others show no respect to DJs while on duty.

"We play Rwandan music, especially the hit songs but there are artists who sometimes lack respect towards us. An artist comes to your place and starts to tell you to play their songs without even minding about the mood and atmosphere at the place, it sounds so disrespectful," Brianne claimed.

"And when we do, we post lit videos of the audience singing their songs but they can't even repost or be grateful. Instead, they only share their songs with us and ask us to play them and that is the last time they text us," she further said.

Veteran music manager Alex Muyoboke has often said that it's strange that local DJs refuse to play Rwanda music yet they are the ones who should be promoting it beyond the borders.

"Artists don't need to remind DJs to play their music, it is the DJS' responsibility. The Rwandan music industry is growing bigger and the quality of our music is so far good enough to get the power play from DJs," he claimed.

Muyoboke said that there might be unnecessary conflict of interests between DJs and musicians since they both want to be famous rather than respect their profession.

Hence, he said, DJs only play their own music and that of their friends then foreign music occupy the rest of their storage in their devices.

"If they could stop fighting for their own benefits and instead start showing some love for our music, the issue can really come to an end," Muyoboke said.

What music should DJs play?

Artists must agree that DJs won't play their music by force, especially if their music lacks quality.

Music critic DJ Adams, real name Adam Abubaker, emphasizes that however much artists say that the quality of their music is so good, it remains up to the DJs to decide which song fits the quality needed in their sets.

"It is not the DJ's duty to promote every artist's songs. Instead, it is the artist's duty to promote themselves and ensure that the audience loves them most and ask the deejays to play their music," said DJ Adams.

Adams urged artists and deejays to stop the blame game in a growing industry that is a long way to go compared to the music of the likes of Nigeria, South Africa, and Tanzania among others.

"It is not time to prove who is bigger between DJs and artists. Deejays need artists to get the music to play and artists need deejays to play their music, the competition must stop and collaboration must be bigger," he noted.

Artmotion S.Africa

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