Corneille would even like to return to Rwanda, where all his family died. He said he would like to turn the page: “it had become a media catcher, he analyzes today, and I was not psychologically equipped. I think that my history escaped me. I did not yet face the pain.“
Born of a Tutsi father and a Hutue mother, he spent his childhood in Germany, then his adolescence in Rwanda. He was known via Rwandan national television at the age of 16, by winning the prize “Discoveries 1993” with his first group.
In 1994, the genocide began, and nine members of his family were killed in front of him, in his house. “It was a genocide against the Tutsi, and it was undeniable” he was then 17 years old.
He escaped away from the coming of the FPR, as hundreds of thousand Rwandans, to take refuge in Zaire (the present Democratic Republic of Congo) before flying away towards Germany, where he was accommodated by friends of his parents.
Since then, he never returned in Rwanda. “I was not ready. I associated too many negative things to this country, sometimes in an irrational way. I was angry with it.”
As shown in his song: “The Birth of Cornelius”, said without make-up:
“Last time I saw you
You looked like apocalypse
Hell and then Genesis combined
Last time I saw you
You were stripping me of anything
And anyone that was mines”
At the age of 36, he hoped to have the same success as in 2003 with his album “Parce que l’on vient de loin” that he sold to a million copies.
Cornelius Nuyngura was married with the Canadian singer and comedian of Portuguese origin, Sofia de Medeiros. He lives with her today in Montreal. She writes the texts of his albums and helps him to manage an uneven career. His previous two albums, The Birth of Cornelius, an album of break, brought out in 2007, and Without title – It is the title of the album brought out in 2009, both had no success. He evoked an incest undergone by his aunt.
African influences are very present in his music. “It is necessary to be attentive to understand his texts, sung with aloud which characterized it. The texts sometimes are dark and often of an innocence curling with naivety. I am said to be dreamy. But my texts are not naive, contested the artist. It is my life; it is my real-life experience. When we passed through difficult times, we can be allowed to be submerged by rancor and we perish. Or hang onto optimism and continue.”
“The ego is this armor we carry; it is this character that we build oneself. It served me to resist at some point. But it is necessary to recognize it, to see it in order to get rid of it. “
In “Les Sommets de nos vies“, single extract from his new album, Corneille has still evoked – in future – his “return to Kigali”.
But the present is not far…