Two years ago, Esther Niyifasha knew little about the Inanga, a traditional Rwandan music instrument. Even much less was her knowledge of ‘Inanga music’, a term that describes music composed or played using the instrument.
Today, it’s a different story as the 18-year-old now joins the ranks of the few gifted and recognisable faces on the Inanga music scene. What’s more, she is a girl in a virtual man’s world. Actually, she is only the second commercially practicing female Inanga player to emerge on the local music scene after Sophie Nzayisenga.
As an Inanga player, Niyifasha confesses that Nzayisenga is one of her role models. The others are Daniel Ngarukiye, and Emmanuel Habimana.
Incidentally, the first musical instrument she laid hands on was a guitar.
“I grew up feeling the passion for music, and I started to play the guitar in 2014 with the help of my brother Deo before he went on to teach me Inanga,” Niyifasha says.
“I first learned about the Inanga from Deo in 2015. Deo is my great brother, a passionate artist, excellent, successful, and hardworking, an achiever and above all, my mentor. He always inspires me, he taught me the Inanga and he offered it to me like a gift,” she says.
Munyakazi is all praises for his sister, “My sister Esther, our last born, is a gifted girl, she never fails in what she wants. I decided to teach her Inanga in 2015, after playing many other instruments and realising that Inanga is unique, so I made her to like it too.”