Tresor Riziki’s epic journey began when he was 7, in his hometown of Goma in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
As a distraction from the horrors of the Rwandan refugee crisis, his parents encouraged him to play the drums and sing in church. They both passed away when he was young, and Rizik decided to follow his musical dream all the way to South Africa.
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He made the journey alone, by foot, car and train, even crossing crocodile-infested waters. Upon reaching Durban in 2007, Riziki worked as a car-guard to survive. A year later, he co-founded the Afrofusion band, Maisha, and was soon playing alongside the likes of Lira, Ladysmith Black Mambazo and Freshly Ground.
Despite having just learnt English when he arrived in South Africa, in 2010 Riziki signed a global song-writing deal with Sony. In 2012, he won a song-writing challenge arranged by Rolling Stone magazine. He wrote two songs (featuring on one) for Zahara’s Phendula.
Last year, Tresor released a solo album called VII which features collaborations with The Soil, Khuli Chana and Beatenberg. Tresor says, “I’m inspired by the glory days of African pop, the ‘80s, made great by artists like Brenda Fassie, Fela Kuti, Johnny Clegg and Chicco Twala.”
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