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Scottish singer Iain Stewart hits the big time...over 6000 miles from home in Rwanda

Iain Stewart first travelled to Rwanda in 2014, after a chance meeting with the country’s music legend Jean Paul Samputu .

Singer Iain Stewart with wife Umutesi.

The 41-year-old charity worker was hosting Jean Paul, a survivor of the Rwandan Genocide , when he showed him a video of a song he had performed.

Iain was then invited to fly to the country with Samputu - who has appeared at shows across the world - and that was when his love affair with the country began.

“When I met Jean Paul it was all a bit surreal,” he said. “He really liked the song and when he invited me over it was all a bit strange.

“I was only two hours off the plane and found myself in a big music venue playing to a large crowd.

“Everybody assumed that I was some big star who had been flown over from Europe.”

He has gone on to have a number one hit in the country and he performed it with Jean Paul as the closing song at a Nelson Mandela tribute concert in the Houses of Parliament.

Iain, who was born in Stirling and went to Denny High School, now considers Rwanda as his second home and married a Rwandan woman, Umutesi Marie Jeanne.

“I am probably over there a few weeks of the year,” he said. “I have this strange situation where nobody in Scotland knows who I am. None of the radio stations will play my music as I am not signed up to a big record company.”

“What had started with a plan to create one song became a whole album which was released late 2014. Songs from the album such as Rwandan Dream were really taken to people’s hearts they really spoke to people. Music from that album has played all over the world. I always believed that music had the power to bring people together and break down the barriers and there was something powerful in this music,” he added.

Iain has just finished working on a new single, ‘Nicheze Nawe’, however is not able to head over to Africa to promote it quite yet.

He said: “What I have to do is try and make the best out of my time there. I have a collaboration line up with a major artist over there and will go out and do that song.”

By Robert Muriisa.

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