Jaques Murigande, aka Mighty Popo, was born in Ngagara, a neighborhood in Bujumbura, Burundi populated largely by Rwandan and Congolese migrants and refugees. Growing up he could hear contemporary and traditional musicians from East and Central Africa on the street, in clubs and in the homes of friends and family, while radio and recordings played music from the whole African continent and beyond. Ngagara was a soundscape in which Soweto, Kingston, Bahia and New Orleans lived side by side.
In spite of hardship, Popo and his family made connections and friendships, found jobs, expressed ideas, pursued dreams, surrounded themselves with music and managed to live and be engaged in a larger world.
As much as Popo inherited a love of the traditional music of Rwanda and Burundi, he also has a lifelong connection with rock, blues, jazz, R&B, Reggae and folk traditions. His music reflects his immersion in a world culture which he has navigated with grace, sensitivity and an enormous sense of exploration and fun. It is enriched by many traditions.
When Popo left Burundi for Canada, his musical journey took him down paths his ears had already traveled at home. He has toured North America and Europe with Canadian and American bluesmen, played reggae and R&B from Halifax to Vancouver and down to New Orleans, and led the house band at the 1998 Pan-African Dance Festival in Kigali.
Mighty Popo was a member of the 2004 Juno Award winning African Guitar Summit and performed at the Canadian edition of Bob Geldof’s international Live 8 concerts (one of the few chosen for EMI’s Live 8 DVD).
African Guitar with the Mighty Popo (Learn Roots Music, 2006)