When Kemvy Elkan heard that the qualifiers for performers at the Amani Festival were about to start, he packed his bags and decided to follow his dream. Until 3 months ago, this 20-year-old musician lived in Kirumba, a town located approximately 200 kilometres from the city of Goma, in the East of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
This Saturday September 15th, 2018 is the first day of the qualifiers dedicated to young talents in the city. Kemvy is getting ready to step onto the stage of Goma’s Cultural Centre. He is focused, as he waits alongside the other young artists of the day in a hall set up for the occasion. To appeal to his audience, he is wearing a “camo” jumpsuit, to show he is ready to face all challenges with his talent. This year, 50 young musicians will take part, every Saturday, in the competition which will last until December 8th. At the end of the contest, 3 musicians will be chosen to represent the city of Goma at the Festival and will each receive USD$1000 in prize money to prepare their performance and develop an artistic project.
“I am already well-know in my town, but I wanted to conquer the world with my art. If I perform at the Amani Festival, that will be an important first step,” explains Kemvy a few minutes before going on stage. When asked if he’s stressed, Kemvy is confident, “I am well prepared,” he answers with a smile.
Hundreds of youths from Goma have heeded the invitation and impatiently await the beginning of the show. The sound check is under way, and sets the rhythm for this afternoon. Lucien Toro is in the audience. For him, the artist to represent the city of Goma should be a revolutionary rapper. “It should be someone able to raise the awareness of the population, and change people’s attitudes,” he explains.
Glody La perfection is also waiting to perform today. “We want to advocate for peace in our country, we need to be heard by the whole world,” explains this 24-year-old artist. He was eliminated in the final stage of the qualifiers for last year’s Amani Festival. This year, he is convinced he will be one of the winners, and is already dreaming of performing on the great Djo Paluku stage during the 6th edition of the Festival.
In the meantime, we wish the best of luck to all the young artists taking part in the competition.