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Jean Paul Samputu
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Jean Paul Samputu is Rwanda's most internationally exposed singer, with a musical career of more than 20 years. As a small land-locked country, Rwanda developed a distinct musical tradition (UNESCO officially declared Rwandan national dance as one of the world's Unique Cultural Heritages), but the country's music is not well known outside its borders. Besides Samputu, only Cécile Kayirebwa released an album in the 1990s that was distributed worldwide.

Exposed to both traditional music and modern western music, such as Stevie Wonder and Bob Marley, he enjoyed singing in choirs. In 1982, he helped set up the Nyampinga Band and made a few albums with this band. In 1985, he left the band and recorded a first solo album. Soon, he formed his own band called Ingeli. His stardom was rising in the early 1990s, he toured in Uganda together with Cécile Kayirebwa, and in Europe in 1993. The tragedy of the Rwandan genocide put a temporary stop to his career, he lost 6 members of his family, his father, mother, three brothers and a sister. However, he came back and started working on a humanitarian level to help his country. He recorded regularly again and eventually in 2003, he won a Kora Award for Best African Traditional Artist. In 2004, he arrived in the United States.

Samputu sings in 6 languages (Kinyarwanda, Swahili, Lingala, Luganda, French and English), and in styles ranging from soukous, rhumba, and reggae, to traditional Rwandan 5/8, Afrobeat, pygmy, and gospel. He combines unique musical traditions from all regions of Rwanda, among them, Intwatwa, Umushayayo, Imparamba, and Ikinimba. His latest album « Testimony from Rwanda » is his first acoustic recording and also his first American-produced CD. He is accompagnied by Aron Niyitunga on guitars, keyboard, bass, and vocals, and Jordan Mensah on percussion.

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Born: 15 March 1962, in Butari (Rwanda)
Style: vocal Rwandan music, gospel, rumba.
Jean Paul Samputu


Title Year Label Remarks
Testimony from Rwanda 2004 Multicultural Media MCM-4003
Abaana 2003 Self-produced
Disi Garuka 2000 EworldMusic
Igihe Kirageze 1999 EworldMusic
Ubuphura Buba Munda 1997
Ubaha Ikiremwa Muntu 1997
Mutima W'Urugo 1996
Kenyera Inkindi Y'Ubuzima 1995
Twararutashye 1993
Bahizi Beza 1991
Mr. Bigirumwami 1986 With the Ingeli Band
Tegeka Isi 1985
Albums with the Nyampinga Band:
Ingendo Y'Abeza 1984 With the Nyampinga Band
Suzuki 1983 With the Nyampinga Band

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