Ki, concept to concert

"Ki?" What's this single syllable sound about?

First time I came across this sound, I was playing Scrabble online. My opponent made a lot of good points with it, spelled with a Q. Then I looked it up. And there was a variant, that sounded and meant exactly the same thing: "vapor", "air", or "breath", the word qi is often translated as "vital energy", "vital force", "material energy", or simply as "energy". Qi / Ki is the central underlying principle in Chinese traditional medicine and in Chinese martial arts. 

I grew up watching a lot of chinese martial arts movies and one of my favorites was Tai Chi starring Jet Li. Funny thing, I wached it with kinyarwanda dubbing 26 years ago in the same area where I recorded this album (Greenferry is located in Kicukiro centre). 

What about the album artwork?  

Banza Dolph did it! When we met at Atelier during the launch of their Design Club, we spent the whole afternoon talking about visual arts, sacred geometry in ancient Rwanda while browsing through Bahaus books and drinking wine. I mentioned I was working on a new album and that I would need his help with the artwork, he asked "What's the name of the album?" I said, "I think I'm gonna call it chiii!" In my mind I spelled that Qi. I felt I was moving in a different type of energy and wanted to express my story with a different approach.  
"Kintsugi on my heart, mandala on my scars, no grills but goldmine in my jaws, I spit gems" (Ref, track No3)
I don't know if this is the line that inspired him to fill up the cracks in my blackness with gold or something else but whatever it is, I love it.  

Did you really make the whole thing in three weeks?  

The music? Yes! Dr. Nganji & I met almost every day for three weeks between 4pm and 6pm to create at least one song per session. 

As for the writing, I had been writing (I'm always writing) for the past two years. Some texts were initially poems, freestyles on guitar loops I had released on Insta. Once in the studio, I adjusted, tweaked, rewrote them into songs. We recorded everything in three weeks, yes. On the last day, I called Dawidi. He showed up with his Sax and laid everything after one listen in one afternoon. Around 6pm, he was like “I got 40min to go. Wanna do a song together?” I was like “Hell yeah!” Tha 's how we did “Turn Around.” The following three days, Dr. Nganji slept less hours than usual to work on the mixing and mastering. 

Thank you,


11th August 2023, The Finale

This album launch concert that happened at L'Espace was preceded by a series of events (8 shows in 7 weeks) as part of the Ki Independent East African Tour that started on the same day as the album release on all major streaming platforms, distributed by Greenferry. 

Created, written, directed, produced by Ngangare Eric "1key" 

in co-production with L'Espace, backed by Positive Production, Imitana Production 
Production assistant: Lookman Rukundo | Make-up Artist: Vanessa Imanzi | Style: Baldy Bonza 

Bass: Ishimwe Adeodatus | Keys: Ndayishimiye Peace | Drums: Ahimana Adrien | Sax: Hirwa Arnold 

Sound Engineer: Ishimwe Hugues | Recording: Mugisha Marc | Lighting: Papy 

Filmed and edited by Ezer 

Special mention to super fans who supported the Kigali tour 

Zouzou, Omike, Sevy, Bazina, Kanaka, S Nyambo, Johnny K, Innocent Kanye, Isumbabyose, Yannick Miara, Mugwiza Eric, Corrie Mwende, Anonymous... 

Thank you all