Mani Martin

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Mani Martin
Birth nameManiraruta Martin
Born1988 (age 30–31)
Ntura, Rwanda
GenresAfrobeat, R&B, Afro-Soul
Years active2000-present
Associated actsFilm Actor

Mani Martin, born Maniraruta Martin, is a Rwandan actor and Afrobeat, gospel, pop music and R&B singer and songwriter. He was described by a reviewer for The Rwanda Spectrum Magazine as "one of Rwanda’s strongest live performing acts." His music reflects a blend of Afro-soul and traditional Rwandan music, and features lyrics in Kinyarwanda, Kiswahili, English and French. [1]


Early years[edit]

Martin was born on 24 December 1988[2] and grew up in his birth village of Ntura, Rwanda.[1] His talent was discovered at the age of nine by a teacher who encouraged him to pursue music lessons at the CISK secondary school in Kigali. In 2000, at the age of 11, Martin recorded 12 gospel songs to strong success; many of these songs became popular in churches across the country.[2] As a teen he taught voice lessons, trained choral groups in vocal performance and gave performances at community and youth events.[1]

Musical career[edit]

Before gaining popularity as a solo artist, Martin earned money through session work, composing jingles for commercials, as a performer with a variety of bands, which enabled him to perform at numerous festivals and events with such international celebrity musicians as Ismael Lo, Lokua Kanza, Vieux Farka Touré, Femi Kuti and Mighty Popo. Martin later formed the Kesho Band, consisting of five members who are dual instrumentalists and vocalists; this group records with him and performs on his tours at home and abroad.[1] His music reflects the influences of Rwandan artists Cecile Kayirebwa and Jean Paul Samputu, and international celebrity musicians Ismael and R. Kelly.[2]

The 2005 release of Mani Martin's first successful single, "Urukumbuzi", earned him popularity throughout Rwanda and neighboring countries. The same year, he was selected as the youngest participant in the FESPAD festival.[2] His debut album, Isaha Ya 9 (2007), was followed by Icyo Dupfana Kiruta Icyo Dupfa in 2009, and in 2012 Martin released two albums entitled Intero y'Amahoro and My Destiny. In addition to releasing four albums, Martin has collaborated with regional artists on numerous singles.[1]

He has twice performed at the international Rwanda Day event held in Boston and in Paris. He was also invited to perform in 2012 for the Rwandan peacekeeping mission in Darfur, South Sudan, and was the first Rwandan artist to perform at the Sauti Za Busara Zanzibar music festival during its tenth anniversary in 2013.[1]

Other activities[edit]

Beyond his musical career, Martin has also explored acting and starred in the film "Long Coat", which explored the lives of Rwandans after the Genocide of 1994.[2]


His first successful single, Urukumbuzi, won him an award for "Song of the Year" in 2006.[2] In 2006, Radio 10 awarded Mani Martin the title of "Artist of the Year". The following year he was nominated for the Ugandan Pearl of Africa Music Award in the category of Best Male Artist. In 2008, Martin won a Salax Award for Best Gospel Artist; he earned a second Salax Award in 2012 in the "Best Traditional Artist of the Year" category.[1]

Personal life[edit]

In February 2013, Martin was badly injured in a motorcycle accident. After hospitalization, the artist went on to make a full recovery and went to perform in souti zabusara festival [3]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g "Rwandan Traditional Music Becomes of Age". The Rwanda Spectrum Magazine. Rwanda. 26 June 2013. Retrieved 14 August 2013.
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Biography". Rwanda: 2013. Retrieved 14 August 2013.
  3. ^ Kimenyi, Bryan (6 February 2013). "Rwanda: Mani Martin Discharged from Hospital". The New Times. Rwanda. Retrieved 14 August 2013.