Written by Rosemary Wachiye
Read 1344 Times
A gospel praise singer who despite his physical challenge has transverse the African continent through his unique niche of music; all the way from Congo, Gabriel Sivulyamwenge proves to all that disability is not inability.
A moving story of his life that started off as a normal child in the year 1977, Gabriel tells of the turn of events at 2 years of age after being diagnosed with polio which left him lame to date despite seeking medical assistance.
Gabriel was born in Butembo City found in the east of Democratic Republican of Congo (DRC) but currently lives in Kenya.
In an interview at West Fm’s Barikiwa Gospel show, Gabriel revealed that singing has been his sole talent since 13 years of age in Sunday school and he has nurtured it through different trainings in every stage of life to see him to where he is now.
He explained that his zeal and passion for singing has helped him achieve his dream despite all odds and challenges that at some point he dropped out of school due to financial constraints.
Just like most known Congolese musicians, he is good at what he does and he attests that just the way Kenyans are recognized as the best in athletics so are they in music.
Gabriel gave hope to the disabled to look beyond their weakness and forge ahead; he encouraged those who due to their physical handicapped nature may have lost hope in life to unveil their unique talent and use it to their benefit.
“For the devil to try to bring someone down it means they have great and unique virtue in them and if the devil doesn’t manage to destroy you, then its upon you to shame the devil by putting your best foot forward and doing what God created you for,” said Gabriel.
Despite being of a Congolese by origin his music genre stands out through his singing in pure Swahili language with a mix of lingala tunes to pass across his educative message on acceptance of the gospel and the spread of Christianity.
He revealed that he was mentored by Bahati Bukuku; a Tanzanian musician whose songs inspired him to sing. His latest song, ‘Jina la Yesu kiboko yao’ praises Jesus as the only name above all names and he proclaims to all to revere him and thank him for the gift of life.
Gabriel’s talent speaks for itself in the much crowded gospel industry in Congo which he explains to be different from the Kenyan one that is now succumbed by piracy leading to low returns due to low market prices.
While in Kenya most gospel artists survive from performing at concerts and events, he reveals that in Congo music sales are big income to the singer as on audio Compact Disk goes for approximately Sh. 1000 Kenyan value while in Kenya the same goes for Sh.100.
Unlike in Kenya where most secular artist have moved to gospel industry where they claim to have more market, Congolese don’t value artists who shift from secular singing to gospel and at times it calls for people not buying their music as punishment.
“God cannot be mixed with worldly pleasures and so in Congo once one is known for singing secular he remains there and the gospel artists the same because the two kinds of music cant mix,” said Gabriel.
He calls upon those talented in singing to look beyond financial gain and sing for the sake of passing the spiritual message to the listeners.
“Let us not put money before the power bestowed upon us by God to pass the message, remember when you give freely, you will receive back in plenty,” said Gabriel.
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