SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine — Singer and songwriter Clarisse Karasira is an enormous deal, particularly in her dwelling nation of Rwanda.
Karasira’s in style Youtube music movies have greater than 35 million views. She was named finest feminine artist of the yr by that nation’s equal of the Grammys in each 2019 and 2021.
Writing and performing completely in her native Kinyarwanda language, Karasira’s music is all about selling conventional Rwandan tradition with candy melodies and grooving, trendy beats.
Karasira’s songs are geared toward lifting up her fellow Rwandans, making them happy with who they’re and letting them know they needn’t look to Europe or the USA for creative inspiration.
And he or she does all of it from her dwelling in South Portland.
Karasira will play a worldwide album launch present at Waynflete Faculty’s Franklin Theater in Portland on Sunday evening. The brand new music was recorded in Portland in collaboration with Rwandan producers and musicians half a world away.
The web makes that potential.
“We moved right here in 2021 to additional her creative alternatives,” mentioned Karasira’s husband and supervisor, Sylvain Ifashabayo. “It doesn’t matter the place we’re. The message nonetheless will get to the target market, due to digital.”
Since arriving, the couple has continued to make new music and movies aimed straight at a Rwandan viewers whereas additionally beginning a household and settling in. They initially selected Maine as a result of that they had a Rwandan buddy in Portland, the place there’s a small Rwandan neighborhood. They selected to remain as a result of they like it right here.
“We’re Mainers now,” Ifashabayo mentioned.
Karasira mentioned she particularly likes performing for Mainers.
“They’re so attentive. Even when they don’t know the language, they need to hear what you’re saying,” she mentioned. “They’re attentive, quiet and current.”
Karasira’s Sunday efficiency is offered by Mayo Avenue Arts. Her earlier present there offered out greater than per week upfront. Thus, this week’s live performance is being held within the bigger, Waynflete house.
Speaking over a few smoothies at a restaurant close to their dwelling, it’s clear that Karasira and Ifashabayo are a crew. Ifashabayo, the hype man, does a lot of the speaking and is clearly enamored of his spouse’s abilities. Karasira, the artist, is extra circumspect and cautious together with her phrases, utilizing phrases that already sound like music lyrics.
They met simply earlier than the pandemic, as she was beginning her music profession and he was working within the music enterprise, reserving conventional artists.
At first of their romantic relationship, Ifashabayo despatched his future spouse an extended textual content in English. She answered him again in Kinyarwanda and requested him to answer likewise — and he did.
“I used to be like, ‘Wow, this man is one thing else,’” Karasira mentioned. “On the time, I used to be on fireplace for selling the language.”
Ifashabayo was additionally impressed.
“I used to be fairly embarrassed that any person might educate me round my very own
language,” he mentioned.
After a two-year courtship, they have been married and moved to Maine, the place their son was born.
Karasira’s new album, “Bakundwa,” means “beloved” in Kinyarwanda. A teaser observe, “Kwanda,” premiered in June with a delicate video that includes the couple and their toddler son in what is clearly a Maine setting.
The observe has greater than a half-million views to date and lots of of feedback from everywhere in the world, particularly Africa.
“A number of love from Zimbabwe,” wrote one listener. “You’re the one who made me to like Rwanda music.”
“This a real piece of African artwork,” one other commented.
As an offshoot of the brand new album, Ifashabayo simply began a expertise and promotion company referred to as Artistic Stars geared toward serving to different immigrant artists discover the assets they should report music, shoot movies and discover efficiency venues in Maine.
Talking once more for his spouse, the artist he represents, Ifashabayo mentioned she in the end needs to make music that will probably be adequate to advertise itself.
“That’s her notion in music, is to make one thing that’s timeless, a music that turns into new each time you take heed to it, whether or not it’s two years after its launch or three years,” he mentioned. “We wish the music to be a reference to the generations that may come 100 or 200 years forward.”
And the couple sees no purpose why they will’t try this from right here.
“Maine persons are actually pleasant and sort folks, who’re curious to know, who’re open to studying from different folks,” Ifashabayo mentioned. “And on the similar time, it’s a spot the place you’ll be able to increase your little one.”
Karasira’s album launch live performance is at 6 p.m. Sunday at Waynflete Faculty at 360 Spring St. in Portland. Tickets are on sale now.