Done by Goodluck Mutoni
When the Ni Nyampinga team arrived at the house party where Dj Ira and Dj Bisosso were booked to dj together, we found them with lots of amazing equipment, busy plugging cables in to microphones, loudspeakers, a computer and mixers. Before the guests arrived, they did a soundcheck to make sure everything was perfect before playing their vibrant music in the night. Ni Nyampinga sat down with the two music maestros to find out what led Dj bisosso to teach Dj ira how to mix music.
Divine Iradukunda is 22 years old and has been mixing music professionally for two years. She was taught by her cousin Hassan Sakubu, famously known as DJ Bisosso, and has herself quickly become known as DJ Ira.
“I saw how DJ Bisosso enjoyed his job, and how it helped develop him and I loved it. So I asked him to teach me,” said DJ Ira, explaining how the thought of becoming a DJ was sparked. At first, DJ Ira was afraid to tell him her idea and so she asked advice from her parents who encouraged her.
DJ Ira wasted no time and quickly asked her brother. “She had a great motive, so I agreed,” says DJ Bisosso, who was convinced by her passion and determination for the profession.
When DJ Ira first started learning how to DJ, she was shy and didn’t feel at ease. She was worried about breaking the instruments, but DJ Bisosso was supportive every step of the way.
“The first day I was so afraid that my hands were sweating, I was trembling. DJ Bisosso brought some powder to remove the sweat and told me not to worry. He advised me to practice more with the instruments, even when he was not around. This is how my fear started to fly away,” she told Ni Nyampinga.
DJ Bisosso taught her something new every day before going to work. Afterwards, DJ Ira stayed home practicing what she learned. When her brother arrived home, she showed him what she had mastered.
After four months of practice, DJ Bisosso brought DJ Ira to mix at an event. Suddenly, it turned into an awful experience: “When I started mixing, I felt more afraid than ever before and I started mixing offbeat,” she recalls. “I didn’t know if I could ever really manage to be a DJ or get over my fear of performing in front of people.”
DJ Bisosso still remembers that day: “I saw what was happening and quickly jumped in to give her a hand. I told her that being anxious for the first time is normal.” As a way to help her overcome her fears, DJ Bisosso invited her to DJ at many different events. This allowed her to practice, get used to it and then do it with ease.
DJ Ira said the experience almost stopped her from continuing. But she remembered that DJing is what she wanted to do, and she wanted to value what DJ Bisosso had done to support her to become what she had always wanted to be.
Over time, DJ Ira improved and the next time she played in front of people she managed to keep the beat. Today, she is proud of the level she has reached. The job has also helped her to explore different places and make lots of new connections.
Even though she has achieved a lot, DJ Ira still faces some challenges in her everyday work. She told Ni Nyampinga that some people ask for her phone number pretending that they want to connect her with new job opportunities, but in reality they just want to hang out. DJ Ira sought advice from DJ Bisosso who told her to always be careful so as to know what a person’s motives are.
Today, DJ Ira is one of the most popular DJs in the country. She says that DJing is not only her job but something that helps her relax when she feels sad. “There are times when I feel down, and then I see people changing their mood from being calm to dancing and jumping up high to the beat of mymusic,” she says. “I immediately feel my energy increase and I become happy.”
DJ Bisosso said that the experience of watching DJ Ira grow has persuaded him of the important role families can play in supporting each other. For DJ Ira, her experience has taught her that: “girls should stand up and work because they are able to do any job,” adding, “You have to love it and go for it.”