International musician Ezra Kwizera will perform in Mission on Friday, Sept. 8. Kwizera’s music carries the spark of life along with the rich undertones of someone who has seen and survived hardship – war, poverty, and growing up as a Rwandan refugee in Uganda.
Yet, from seemingly insurmountable challenges, he has risen up to become one of the most notable artists and music producers in Africa and internationally.
In recent years, Kwizera has travelled around the world and performed in front of thousands, in places such as Africa, the UK and the U.S. He just touched down in B.C. and has brought with him his energetic yet soulful melodies, along with his signature unique mix of genres and cultures.
Kwizera fluidly sings and raps in English, Kinyarwanda, Luganda, Zulu and Swahili, while infusing flavors of reggae, Soca, East African bongo, and pop.
Born in Uganda to refugee parents, Kwizera returned to Rwanda shortly after the 1994 genocide, during which many of his Tutsi relatives had been killed. Growing up in an environment of political instability, Kwizera said there was a time when, “I could see no hope for my life. It was like there was a wall in front of me; I didn’t think I would see myself grow to be a man.”
Overcoming times of fear, trauma and struggle, Kwizera’s history contrasts brightly with the leader he is today – a creative artist and a community role model who helps vulnerable children, youth and needy families to develop the skills necessary to improve their lives.
“I started helping about six families, each with about three to four kids, through my music. I would share their stories at my concerts and find sponsors for the kids.”
You can see Kwizera live at The Stage on Friday, Sept. 8. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. with the music beginning at 9 p.m. The Stage is located at 32998 First Ave.