When I first saw Israel Mbonyi, he was on a gospel show hosted on the then Rwanda Television. Much as he was mostly just starting out on his career journey, a star shone on him.
His music was outstanding, that was without a doubt. But it was in the way he sang that captured the hearts of many I believe. His lyrics in particular had a way to them, as if it was God literally speaking. ‘Nzi ibyo nibwira kubagirira…’ as one of his songs goes…you can see how that flows.
Gospel music was never to be the same. Mbonyi’s talent came with a might that was to completely change the gospel music industry. The songs he sang were more than mere lyrics coined to make music, they were divine, they could heal and mend broken hearts. It was worship at its core.
Every now and then, social media users post testimonies on how Mbonyi’s music has changed their lives. It’s no wonder his music is loved by many, Christians or non-Christians. You can easily find Mbonyi’s music playing anywhere be it gospel places or even bars and at secular concerts.
Rwanda’s gospel music in general has been evolving, and it is worthy to mention that Mbonyi (as well as other artistes) has greatly been at the helm of this growth. For quite some time, gospel music was mostly characterised by regular worship and praise songs sung in church or later on, by choirs.
But this has since changed. The gospel music industry is as vibrant as ever, thanks to such outstanding artistes that have given it a boost.
As with the industry, Mbonyi’s talent and journey in music has since been rising and rising. And now, it’s no wonder that he is making a name beyond the continent. And if there was ever a doubt about the gospel singer’s stardom, the remarkable Icyambu live tour has made it all clear.
From last year, the singer has been touring continent after continent, holding sold-out concerts, not to mention his recent one held on Christmas day at BK Arena.
He has performed in Africa and beyond. He has held performances in countries such as Zimbabwe, Canada, Israel, Belgium among others.
Last year was the singer’s crown of glory, yet this year seems lined up too with blessings of its own.
Rwandans are so proud and as for Christians, it’s an honour for the singer to be shining his star around the globe for the gospel.