Husker seniors Esther Uwamahoro, Japhet Ingeri and Benoit (Ben) Kayigamba are accustomed to making their band, Live Lyve, adaptable to any situation. The trio from Kigali, Rwanda, formed Live Lyve in early 2020, leveraging the success of their first show at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s Rwandan Night before pivoting to sharing music remotely during the pandemic.
Now, the three friends and bandmates are having to be flexible for different reasons: balancing their band’s rising success with their final years as integrated science majors.
“It’s been a critical time, not only for our music careers, but also for our degrees,” Uwamahoro said.
This balancing act was especially tricky this past summer as the three held internships while playing Live Lyve gigs around the country.
Uwamahoro spent the summer in Seattle interning for Boeing. Ingeri interned with the Nebraska U Rural Fellows Program, and Kayigamba worked for the City of Chadron through the Rural Prosperity Nebraska Program.
The trio performed in Arizona, Colorado, South Dakota and Seattle in between their internship commitments, requiring a lot of travel. And though their musical influences span the globe, Ingeri said playing for Rwandan audiences is what led to a snowball effect of new gigs around the country.
“We wanted to get plugged into communities of the Rwandan diaspora,” Ingeri said. “The most prominent events are weddings, which are huge audiences — 200 people or above. We would play at one wedding, and there we’d meet another client who wanted us to perform in a different state.”
Getting connected in Rwandan communities has also helped the band meet collaborators, setting them up for new and future projects.
“That’s how we meet new clients, but that’s also how we meet producers and people who want to work on other projects,” Kayigamba said.
After such a busy summer, the band is focusing on playing local events around Nebraska, making new music, and finishing their degrees. But the band isn’t going anywhere ,even as college comes to an end.
“We’re getting ready for the next step, the next transition,” Kayigamba said.
The three are still trying to appreciate the remaining time they have in college before beginning the next phase of their careers.
“Music will always be a part of me, no matter what life throws at me,” Uwamahoro said. “But we want to make the most out of this time with each other.”