Music soothes the soul and brings people together. This idea is the driving force behind Ingoma Nshya, a drum ensemble that has been challenging stereotypes. The group, which is composed entirely of Rwandan women even though drums are traditionally reserved for men. Their music spreads the message of reconciliation in Rwanda, a country still affected by the 1994 genocide, as well as in the conflict-racked Kivu region of the neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo, where they recently played a concert.
Ingoma Nshya is made up of 20 women. They play traditional Rwandan rhythms as well as Burundian and Senegalese rhythms on about a dozen different types of drums. Over time, they have developed their very own, new rhythms. The ensemble puts on choreographed shows where they sing in Kinyarwanda, one of Rwanda’s official languages. They recently played at the Goma Buzz’art festival in DR Congo in mid-December.