Miss Jojo Offers Live Performances to Eritrean Audience
She is better known as Miss Jojo in the music industry. She had to pass through tragic incidents that could have affected her life severely. Juliana Uwineza, a Rwandan singer and choreographer, lost her farther in a car accident just after few months of her birth. She was only fortunate to have her mother until the Tutsi Genocide of 1994. She was left alone at the age of 12. Despite all the tragedies she was destined to face, she never gave up in life. Even though she remained parent less, her uncle shouldered a responsibility to give her a fatherly care in her growth and educational carrier. She earned her BA Degree in English literature from the National University of Rwanda.
Her mother, also a musician, identified her daughter Jojo’s innate talent during early childhood and used to motivate her to appear in public performances and become a reputed musician. Ever since her first debut, she has been flourishing and her success is now clearly seen as a big star in the milk way of star singers. She is fervent live performer, who grabs the attention of fans from all walks of life. She performed more than 100 regional and international shows which enabled her to win regional awards and nominations. She is now the most awarded female artist in Rwanda. She along her choreographers and band crew staged a splendid performance in Asmara at cinema Roma and in the 5th Eri-youth Festival at Sawa. Shabait has conducted an interview with this renowned Rwandan singer. Below is an excerpt of the interview:
Please tell us about you and your music crew?
I am called Miss Jojo. Jojo is actually my stage name. I have been doing music since 2007 back in Rwanda. From last year, I started to grow as regional artist and even bigger. That is why I have been working harder. I came here (to Eritrea) for I really wanted to show what I have. Actually, I have been doing music as a solo artist all the way. What I only do is that I try to make my performance interesting and I put choreographers at my back. That is why you saw me on stage with other guys. It is a crew which has been dancing for me for all these years. So, you can understand that we really have a solo together.
Apart from solo, what sort of music do you prefer to play?
I play afro beat or afro fusion. It is a beat that brings one to Africa. Sometimes it is slow, sometimes it is jazz and at times it is solo.
What could you tell us about local Rwandan music?
Rwandan music is quite diversified. It has different blends and different beats that can fit any international music. When I am singing, I tried to hold the Rwandan beat and blend it together with the international. I do not rely only on traditional style, but rather I do the fusion.
If you have got a chance to observe Eritrean traditional music, what really impressed you?
What impressed me is that, we have some staff we do in common. Eritreans have some dance like what we traditionally do in Rwanda. They have some drum beats alike to what we have at home. This makes me feel at home. You know, Africa is Africa and as Africans we definitely share something in common. It is a good experience for an artist to go all these miles to have this kind of similarities.
I just want you to tell me about your previous recordings?
So far, I have two albums. The first titled Genesis and the second album is called Women. I think some people are left with it now. If an artist performs somewhere and happens to gain broader acclaim, he doesn’t simply fade away from the memories of the fans. We might come back someday and perform before our Eritrean audience. If they found something they savor, they encourage you when you are on stage. I really feel good performing for them. So, I really had a good time.
On which themes do you focus while composing your music?
I write in different themes. It actually remain social. I talk about social justice, about women and their rise, their anger and their problems and about anything that should be told. At times, I talk about loneliness and pain which is part of our lives. I also write about love and sometimes just about fun. So, I write in different themes.
If this is your first visit to Eritrea, how do you like the country, its capital Asmara, and the youth festival here in Sawa?
Talking about Sawa, it is such a really-really nice thing. We obtained information why so many youths are here. Visiting to Sawa is like really trying to strengthen them. Coming and performing for them is an honor. Even though it has everything else, what Africa has most is its people. When giving something to the people and especially to the youth on whom the rest of people relay, you really feel like you are putting something in the future of peoples and you have value. So, I really loved performing for them and they were very happy. Even though it was their first time to listen to my music, it was really surprising. But, the weather is very tough for we never used to it before. Sometimes, it is really hard to be here. But, since we are here for the youth, we are happy.
Asmara is really cool. We thought that if Eritrea is on the top of Africa, it might be very hot. But, Asmara is a different experience. It is nice and the people are caring. Thinking about Eritrea, you guys have a lot of people who look like Rwandan. It is some good feeling we have. We are somehow at home. So, I think, my visit to Eritrea is a nice experience.
What is your future plan in the music industry?
I am trying to grow bigger. I want to go to all regions in Africa and beyond that I plan to go around the world. Finally, I just want to thank the people who invited me as an artist in here. Because we artist share so many things among one another. When we are in new platform, we can share experiences with new people and there is some richness coming along. I really want to express my appreciation to Eritreans. They are really amazing as audience to a singer. That is not only to me, other artists I was with also felt the same.