Thursday, March 22, 2018

Bernard RUJINDIRI master of the Inanga

RUJINDIRI was born around 1900 from a TWA mother in Munanira (Masango-Gitarama) and at
the time of this recording in 1974 residing on the hill Mbati (Mugina-Gitarama). He stayed regularly at the court of Mwami MUSINGA and RUDAHIGWA and made music for the pleasure of the king and his entourage or when dignitaries paid a visit. He was rewarded on the day of his departure with a cow and a little money.
 Most of his repertory dates from the period of RWABUGIRI and was composed to celebrate his war victories. RUJINDIRI mentioned such names as RUDAKEMWA, KARIRA, RUKA- RAMANZI and GICUNATIRO as important "historical" inanga composers, all of whom were at the time staying at the court of Mwami RWABUGIRI.
RUJINDIRI himself learnt his repertory from his father MAHWEHWE (born during the reign of RWOGERA, and died around 1920), who in turn was a student of GICUNATIRO. Other renown zither players since deceased are KISIRIBOBO, SEGIKWIYE, RUZAMBA, RUTANGIRA and SEBATUNZI.

  The old Inanga repertory that evoked that history of the kingdom virtually disappeared during the period which followed the toppling of the monarchy and the installation of the Republic. And this accentuated once again the historical and cultural value of RUJINDIRI'S repertory.
Since then, the textual content of the inanga repertory has changed radically and today consists of themes which extol the qualities of the political authorities (national and local) and celebrate incidents from the daily life on the hills.
Whereas in earlier times inanga music was the privilege of TUTSI, today inanga players can be found among both the TUTSI and the HUTU.
The oldest and most characteristic songs accompanied on the Inanga date from the time of the monarchy. According to the oral tradition, this inanga music existed already at the time of YUHI III MAZIMPAKA (1700-1730). Earlier, inanga music was performed by the ruling TUTSI class; it sang historical events, the heroic deeds of warriors, and the wisdom, courage and generosity of the king. In this way, the textual content
accompaniment. From this he builds up his own repertory, based on melodies and texts of his own
composition as well as of songs learnt from the master or other famous inanga players, to which he gives a personal touch.

Traditionally, inanga music is performed by a singer-instrumentalist who accompanies himself on the zither. The performance technique of RUJINDIRI differs from the traditional style, since he performs an important part of his repertory himself, accompanied by two vocal accompanists, SEMAHE and NYIRASHIRAMBE. In general, the music of RUJINDIRI is characterised by a tempo giusto alternating with a tempo rubato when the textual content requires it. This gives a very melodic character to this narrative music in which the accompanying function of the inanga shows up extremely well. His songs are made out of successive strophes, which are usually distinguished from each other by an instrumental interlude.

Furthermore, he enriches his music by adding a melodic hum at the beginning of the song, by gracing a few notes, by beating an additional rhythm on the resonance-box and by a recitative style in some passages. This latter characteristic is found in tracks 3 and 10, where he recites the text in the traditional style of the ibyivugo,a literary genre originating from the TUTSI culture, whereby the singer recites the heroic of the king, the chiefs, the warriors and sometimes also himself. Some  see this as an indication that inanga music could probably have originated from  ibyivugo. Initially recited and accompanied by the inanga, these texts must were given a melody at a later time. A similar phenomenon seems to have occurred with  the pastoral poetry amahamba and the dynastic poetry igisigo, that recited as well as sung versions exist even today.