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Gyes Igwe: Using music to fight violence

Lira-based singer Gyes Igwe says he stands up for youth whose views are not often valued. PHOTOS BY Michael Kakumirizi

Standing up: Gyes Slence Igwe experienced a kind of violence while he was still on the job. When he got his breakthrough in music, he used the platform to address domestic violence.

Gender-based violence is one of the commonest vices and now Lira-based singer Geoffrey Ayena aka Gyes Slence Igwe is taking the fight against it through song. The artiste has created a musical niche and among his songs is Family Affair, which talks about drunk parents who come home late and fight their wives before their children.
It also portrays dangers of underage marriage and importance of educating girls and boys.

Tell us about yourself
I am an artiste, and producer at Vocal Pouch as well as a songwriter. I started my music career in high school. I was a good rapper and loved beat boxing. I used to do the same at church and I had a dream of being a musician, but I had financial challenges.

How did you get into the industry?
In 2012, I got a job with a construction company but I was making little money yet I wanted to buy studio equipment. My family stepped in because they knew how much I wanted to be a producer. They bought me equipment, I got a few guys and I trained them.

What was the first song you released?
I dropped my first song Imato Iwilo in 2014 and it was a hit. It was then that I realised that people love music done in their local language.

How long did it take you to release another song?
I dropped my second song Can Lanywar, in 2015 but it was supposed to be a 2016 release. The song portrays how people are being handled at their workplaces. It was inspired by the fact that some people are not being paid well or treated well at their workplaces. It was something I had experienced.
It took me two more years before I dropped Kwo Amalaya after a local newspaper in Lira Town published an article that sex workers had taken over Lira Town. I started thinking of how such an immoral act could be avoided. Team Point Blank believes in fighting civil disobedience and social issues in the society.

You talk of Team Point Blank, what is that?
Team Point Blank was an idea conceived in 2017 after I responded to the situation that the youth face; it is about civil disobedience.

What was that song?
The song Point Blank portrays the state of our generation; government servants that are not doing their job right, those misleading and portraying a bad image of the government and so forth. Youth are not valued much, so the song is a voice to portray all this.

Tell us about your journey to fighting gender-based violence.
Towards the end of 2018 I was voted Hip Hop artiste of the year in the Lango Entertainment Awards. It was then that I was asked to compose a song on domestic violence and teenage marriages and the song got me an award.

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