Red Rocks Intercultural Centre’s 2017 edition of the Cultural Talent Show, which took place on February 17-19, was an event unlike any other in Rwanda. It was an immersive experience of music and culture that brought together a wide array of local performers from around Musanze district.
The three-day show, which was held at Red Rocks in Nyakinama village, Musanze district, attracted hundreds of attendees – both local and foreign – keen to soak up dance, poetry, drama and traditional music performed by little-known albeit talented artists from Musanze district. Also in attendance were local journalists and representatives from the Rwanda Development Board’s tourism department.
Performers ranged from children to adults and the disabled. During the event, attendees were taken through different aspects of the Rwandan culture, such as how to clean the house, how to weave baskets, how to make banana beer, as well as singing and dancing to traditional Rwandan music, among many other things.
Some of the outstanding performers included the Red Rocks Rwanda-supported Hands of Hope – a group of children that also brews and sells local banana beer to eke out a living. Also impressive was
an old woman, probably over 70 years old, who roasted audience member when she skillfully played the Inanga as she sang cultural songs.
Incorporating visual art in the event, Red Rocks’ Cultural Talent Show offered a bold vision that could serve as a blueprint for other local festivals and cultural events to evolve into something truly remarkable.
Greg Bakunzi, director of Red Rocks Rwanda, observed: “Here we take a long-term approach to what we do. That´s the reason why we organize monthly events that bring together the local community, our conservation groups and stakeholders in the tourism industry. These events give attendees a chance to share their insights, exchange ideas, learn how best to use their skills and tools, and have a say in how our shared resources can be used more efficiently.
“We strive to find collaborative activities to help our guests spend these hours or days together for the benefit of our Rwandan culture, our people and our wildlife. This has lasting effects on our
Relationships with one another. They help us maximize our social and economic benefits and to reduce any negative impact tourism might have on our natural endowment and our cultural heritage.”
Since its inception in 2011, Red Rocks has been organising monthly events such as the Cultural Talent Show, which aims to raise cultural awareness and enhance cultural dialogue; Seed of Hope Festival, which celebrates the planting season of the year; Summer Camp Festival, which offers the local community an opportunity to learn about nature, ecology and wildlife; as well as the now very popular Christmas Village Market, which offers locals and foreign visitors alike a memorable Christmas shopping experience in a rural setting.