Closing the chapter on Guitar Tales: A farewell from Deo Salvator

As he brings to an end his pioneering column exploring the way guitar music is thriving all across the continent of Africa, Deo Salvator reflects on where African guitar culture has been, and where it’s going.

Deo Salvator, photo by Chris Schwagga

Deo Salvator. Image: Chris Schwagga

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As I sit down to write this, my final Guitar Tales column, I’m overwhelmed with a sense of gratitude and nostalgia. It’s been an incredible journey, and I want to take this opportunity to reflect on where we’ve been and where we’re going.

Three years ago, I embarked on this adventure with a simple belief: that playing the guitar is not enough. Music, in all its forms, has the power to connect us, heal us, and inspire us. But to truly make a difference, we must do more than play our instruments. We must listen, learn, and contribute to the industry that surrounds us.

Through this column, I’ve had the privilege of sharing the stories of remarkable African guitarists. We’ve explored their backgrounds, their influences, and the unique cultural contexts that shape their music. These talented artists have enriched our lives with their melodies and, in turn, have enriched mine with their stories.

Yet, as I write my farewell, I feel compelled to share a bit about my own journey. I was born in Kigali, Rwanda, in the shadow of a tragic history that could have taken me before I even had a chance to live. But fate had other ideas, and I found my path through the world of music. It was my uncle, a former military musician, who kindled the musical spark in our family. From dancing to guitar, my journey was a testament to the transformative power of music.

Deo Salvator, photo by Chris Schwagga
Deo Salvator. Image: Chris Schwagga

I’ve had the opportunity to produce events, manage traditional Rwandan artists, and collaborate with some incredible talents. I’ve toured, released two instrumental albums, and had the privilege of working on soundtracks for films and documentaries. I’ve also been fortunate enough to contribute to the growth of fingerstyle guitar in Africa through the collective, Fingerpickers in Africa.

Now, as I bid farewell to this column, I’m thrilled to share my future endeavours. I’ve just completed a European and UK tour and am in the process of organising more concerts in Europe, the UK, and the US in 2024. And, I’m hard at work on my third album, which promises to bring a fusion of Inanga music to the worldwide guitar community.

It’s a new chapter, but my mission remains the same: to amplify the voices of African guitarists and to continue pushing the boundaries of what’s possible in music. The guitar is not just an instrument; it’s a tool for connection and expression, a bridge between cultures and a means to tell our stories.

I want to express my deepest gratitude to all the readers who have followed this column, to the Guitar.com team, and to all the artists and individuals who have enriched my life on this incredible journey. It’s not a farewell; it’s a “see you later” as I embark on new adventures, taking the spirit of African guitar culture with me.

Thank you for allowing me to share these guitar tales with you. Until we meet again on new stages and in new stories, may the music continue to bring us together, inspire us, and remind us that it’s not enough to just play the guitar; we must also listen, learn, and contribute to the magic of music.

Amahoro! Peace!


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