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Saturday, November 2, 2013
First place in the voice section of the Beauty and the Voice 2013 contest in Saint Vincent, Congolese voice artist Ntumba Marie Therese Kabutakapua (aka MariTè).

Singing of the hope and desire in the new generations to roll up their sleeves and become involved in building the future while not falling short of their ideals has been the main work of MariTè, a young “Soul and Afro-pop” singer and self-taught guitarist. She is Italian, born of Congolese parents and the music section winner of the Saint Vincente 2013 Beauty and Voice Prize.

She responds to some interview questions by Africa News:

Tell us something about your music.

The musical trio that I sing with offers a blend of Soul and African music, Afro-Soul. Now I’m moving toward Gospel music. I direct a thirty-voice choir, and I’ve returned to my old love Rhythm and Blues, but the African influence is always there.

Is there something in particular that inspires you?

I draw inspiration from everything around me. I’m a song writer and my lyrics express the things I live. But I also gather inspiration from everyday life: a news headline that has struck me, meeting someone, etc.

What are the most common obstacles that you encounter in your musical career?

It’s not always easy being a woman. You can find worthwhile opportunities for more visibility, but often for something in return. Refusing on the grounds of my personal values is always a challenge. At times it’s painful, but I also see these moments as moments of strength: showing that it is possible to sing, play and dance while not making compromises.

What is your message to other young people born in Italy of immigrant families?

I deeply believe that the second generation is the bridge between their country of origin and that of their birth. It’s important to study and grow in order to give a valid contribution to the land of our origins as well as the land of our birth, and to open ourselves to the second generation, who are an integral and vibrant part of the country. When I think about this and the fact that I am part of the second generation, I feel so proud. I love both my countries, and I feel honoured to wave the flag of both cultures.

On behalf of the Focolare Website, we asked MariTe another question:

How does living the spirituality of unity influence your understanding of art and how it is expressed?

I’ve known Chiara Lubich and the Focolare Movement since I was a child. When I was 20 years old I attended a convention for artists at the Mariapolis Centre in Castel Gandolfo, which was very illuminating for me. I wrote to Chiara to thank her, because I felt that I had understood my mission. My music and my life are a gift given to me by God, and I would like to place this gift at His service in spreading the message of unity. I sing loudly about the hope that seems to be hidden by superficiality today. We young people cannot allow ourselves to crumple; we are the ones who will create our own future. We have to roll up our sleeves and get it done.Watch video