Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Monday, September 29, 2008

From the artists

Saturday, September 20, 2008

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Behind the FREE song... Oh Hallelujah

Rwandan born Eric Nshimiyumuremyi (now Enric Sifa) was orphaned by the tragic events of the 1994 genocide and its devastating impact to his country.
At age nine he began to live on the streets, trying to find any way to survive. He struggled daily to get food and shelter, suffering from loneliness, abuse and hunger.

Because he loved music, he began hanging around village nightclubs, running errands for patrons. These clubs were dangerous though because drunk patrons or gangs would sometimes beat him or abuse him.

On a Saturday night in 2000, Enric was severely beaten in a nightclub. That night as he lay awake in pain, he felt so miserable because he had no one to help treat his wounds. He heard a voice telling him not to return to that life. The next Sunday morning he wandered into a church. In that church, he found his passion again-music! This music was free, and the people treated him well. Enric's heart began to feel hope for the first time so he gave his heart to God. He immediately began writing songs, and at 14 he wrote many powerful songs like Vahanze (come out and enter) still sung by his fans in Rwanda today.

In 2002 a church member asked Enric to teach children to sing for American visitors coming to help with a summer camp hosted by Africa New Life Ministries. While he led the children in music, Serena Morones from Portland Oregon recognized his life’s potential and offered to help him return to school.

As a newly sponsored student through Africa New Life Ministries, Enric began to flourish. He continued to write music and in 2004 he won a national music competition in Rwanda about the hazard of AIDS and how people can prevent it, earning the right to sit with the President of Rwanda.

While attending primary school at Gakenke Primary School in the eastern Provence, he was chosen as a student leader to attend national children’s summit with Rwandan government leaders. The summit was formed for the purpose of involving Rwandan students in the process of changing the country, to avoid repeating its painful history. He attended the summit for two years.

Today at the age of 21, Enric has composed over 60 songs in both his Kinyarwanda and English. He has appeared on Rwandan TV and radio, performed for government dignitaries and toured three times in the United States with the music group, Hindurwa. Enric's dream is to travel the world and speak about how people can make the world shine by loving each other , and sing to people about God's power to change anyone from the most hopeless circumstances.

What is Rock Rwanda?

What started out as a response to musicians asking the question of how they could be a musician as a career long-term, has now turned into a movement.

“Get connected with something bigger than yourself and mobilize your fan base to do the same.”

Perhaps in its simplest form, Rock Rwanda exists to connect artists with cause with an eventual goal to connect artists with artists to encourage, strengthen, and grow the kingdom.

After spending time with Enrics Sifa, other area musicians and the Morones family… it quickly became our realization that this was indeed possible.

Then along came Kris McGreevey, who happens to be co-owner of an amazing recording studio called, Downbeat Sounds. Not only did we want to have a concert, Kris asked… “Why don’t we do a CD?”

So, Kris and I co-produced… Rock Rwanda, Volume One

And now… here we are as 17 Northwest artists all donated a song for the project along with Enric and Hindurwa offering two songs. The CD turned out great and is very eclectic. There is simply something for everybody on it. A portion of the sales goes to Africa New Life.

On the Ground in Rwanda...

In 1994 following the genocide that claimed nearly 800,000 lives, Charles Buregeya visited Rwanda and was greatly moved by the needs of the children who had been orphaned by the war. While visiting he spoke in several churches and helped organize crusades to share a message of hope to the nation. It was during this time that he became aware of the tremendous needs of the orphaned children, the struggles of the widows, and the impact of poverty. People needed food, medical care and hope for the future. Charles knew he had to do something to help.

Together with his wife Florence and their strong faith in God they started Africa New Life Ministries, an organization that would reach out to the widows and orphans of Rwanda. They began by sponsoring nine children to provide food and school for one year.

Africa New Life Ministries started in 2001 with about 30 sponsored children, and since then it has grown to more than 2,000 sponsored children, a full primary school, five orphanages, two churches, and many other ministries. Incredible things have happened, thanks to the dedication of so many generous and faithful people, the prayers that have been answered, and the amazing loving kindness of God.