Burundi Music

By | August 12, 2020


Music played a central role at the Tutsi King and Chief Court. Drums are highlighted as symbols of royal power, e.g. in the tribute music still performed by an ensemble of 25 ingo- drums.

The music in Burundi is basically pentatonic, but has variations. The song is mostly monophonic and is built on shout-answer techniques, except for the twee, whose polyphonic singing styles with iodine effects break with the usual pattern. The tutsi song suggests Arabic influence.

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The large trough citra (inanga), the most important stringed instrument in hoof music, is used for solo games and to accompany, among other things. epic and historical songs. Other stringed instruments include a musical bow and one-string violin, a form of tump piano (ikembe) and various types of flutes (umwironke), often played by shepherd boys.

Traditional music has continued to play a major role. The ceremonial drum music is managed by a.k.a. the group Drummers of Burundi, which has recorded several records since the 1990’s.

Popular music is influenced by Caribbean music such as reggae and zouk, but also rum-based soukous from neighboring Congo (Kinshasa). Many of the most well-known musicians live and work in exile. Eric Baranyanka (born 1959), Khadja Nin (born 1959) and The Mighty Popo (actually Jacques Murigande, born 1961), the latter born in a refugee camp in Burundi by parents from Rwanda and now active in Canada.

Burundi Arts and Literature