Based: Kenya

In 1984, a 10-year-old boy named Jean Pierre Nimbona started playing musical instruments. In 1986, he joined the Bujumbura-based Imvumero band.

As he approached his 20s, the budding singer quit Imvumero and joined Imboneza, another Bujumbura-based live music outfit where he played for one year before forming his own band, Electric Power.

However, due to political instability in Burundi at that time, Nimbona’s Electric Power soon collapsed, forcing band members to flee to Kenya. While in Kenya, he joined the Hot Rod band and stayed with it until 2004 when he formed his own which he named Boda Boda.

While with Boda Boda, he adopted Kidum as his stage name and also released his first song, Yaramenje, which was released in 1999. Kidum’s debut album of the same title was released the following year and it spawned a few big hits that hit the airwaves in Burundi, making him known across the country.

By 2002, Kidum had made a name for himself. In fact, Yaramenje was popular that former Burundi’s president Pierre Buyoya, personally invited the singer to a peace concert in Bujumbura.

In the subsequent years, Kidum created music that not only made him popular across the East African region but also won him a couple of accolades, including the coveted Kora Award.

His achievements in the music industry since he hit the road many years ago are no mean feat, and Kidum knew this quite well when he decided to use his 40th birthday to celebrate his 30-year musical journey with a concert at the Kigali Serena Hotel on November 28.

The concert attracted a large crowd and revellers were treated to an evening of live performances by some of Rwanda’s musicians, among them Mani Martin, Gabby Umutare, Frankie Joe and Dr Claude and the duo of Sharly and Nina.

Kidum performed songs such as Mushaha, Mapenzi, Nitafanya, Kipenda Roho (featuring Frankie Joe), Intimba y’Urukundo and Mulika Mwizi, among others.