A Photographer’s Love for Music Festivals in Rwanda

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Most music lovers love music festivals. But for Burundi-born Alex Niragira, music festivals mean so much more.

Alex is a creative designer, photographer, and videographer based in Kigali, Rwanda. He did his Bachelor’s degree in Multimedia University, Malaysia. For him, music festivals in Rwanda are not just festivals. They present a great opportunity for local photographers to shine and capture unique moments.

Below, he shares his passion in creating fabulous photos for music festivals in Rwanda.


Beauty of Music Festivals in Rwanda

The live music scene is a lot bigger in Malaysia compared to the general festivals in Rwanda. They have Asian Music Festival (AMF), Urbanscape, and many others. Rwanda, of course, has Kigaliup, amongst others. But none are as massive as the festivals in Malaysia.

People in Malaysia love having their photos taken. But in Rwanda, there’s some sort of photo phobia going on. When we see a photographer near us, we move away. I asked many people why they fear being photographed. The answer was always vague.

“I don’t know, but I just don’t like it.”

At festivals in Rwanda, however, people become more open. Perhaps it’s the music. I love live music and the mood it gives to people, how it allows one to relax and come together. When the mood sets in, people are less conscious about us photographers. And that’s when I can capture the actual emotion on people’s faces.

Music brings people together. During music festivals, I get to enjoy the music. I  also get to capture good photos. What could be better than that?


Girl from Urbanscapes, Malaysia

Girl from Urbanscapes, Malaysia

I love to capture people’s mood through photos and videos during various festivals. It always comes down to the specific moment you want to capture. From the time when the musicians play their instruments, to when the audience hold hands to join in the tune.

The lighting during festivals in Rwanda is just fabulous. It makes everything look so artistic – the stage, the audience, everything. The light engineers and I often work together to make sure that the lighting is always at its best.


Giving Africans a Chance to Shine

Because of the media, people assume most good stuff comes from the West. They are often amazed by the event photos taken by foreign photographers. These photographers often fly in with their massive gadgets.

I want to show people that you can also get quality work from Africa. I want to show that, we Africans, can create good photos. I want to capture great moments and share the photos of wonderful people and festivals in Rwanda.

I hope that the same chance for appreciation can be given to local photographers. I want people to realise that similarly beautiful pictures can be taken by locals too.

That’s what I want to do. And I start by taking good photos especially during festivals.


At KigaliUp Music Festival, one of the biggest music festivals in Rwanda

At KigaliUp Music Festival, one of the biggest music festivals in Rwanda


Performance by Active at Miss Rwanda 2014

Performance by Active at Miss Rwanda 2014