The return of Lira for a show at 7Arts Theatre in Avondale on June 7 could signal the growing popularity of young South African songstresses in the country.
By Our Staff
She comes after her contemporary, Zahara, made waves in the country on her previous visits, especially the last one in March this year at Harare International conference Centre, where she shared the stage with Oliver Mtukudzi.
Lira had her debut Harare gig in 2011 when she performed with Cool Crooners, Dudu Manhenga, Victor Kunonga, Jazz Invitation, Selmor Mtukudzi and Tendai Manatsa.
Considering the impact Zahara and Lira had during their previous visits, they could write a history similar to the days of the late Brenda Fassie and Yvonne Chaka Chaka that stole the hearts of many Zimbabweans at the peak of their careers.
Organiser of the upcoming Lira show, Chris Musabayana, said the South African diva would share the stage with Alexio Kawara and Prudence Katomeni-Mbofana, among other local acts.
“We are looking forward to a good show. It will be a show for executives and an audience that wants to enjoy soulful
music,” said Musabayana.
“Our local performers have expressed eagerness to complement the South African musician in a big way. Lira is a good performer and people will definitely have a good time.”
Lira was born Lerato Molapo in the Daveyton township in Johannesburg’s East Rand. She is a multi-platinum selling and a seven-time South African Music Award winner.
Speaking after her performance in Harare, Lira described herself as a diverse artist.
“I didn’t want to be boxed in, I am very diverse. But now, I’ve refined Lira, and my music now has a quality of self-awareness. If anything, my music represents possibility, and I describe it as Afro-soul,” she said.
According to Wikipedia, she grew up listening to Miriam Makeba, Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin and Nina Simone who would eventually inspire her own songwriting. She began performing live at the age of 16, singing both cover versions and self-penned songs.
As an undergraduate student, Lira studied accounting and used her skills to exchange for recording time at a local studio, resulting in her first demo at the age of 18. Upon graduation, Lira continued in accounting for two years before taking music full-time.
In 2000 she was discovered by musician and producer Arthur Mafokate, who signed her to his record label, 999 Music, and helped with the release of her debut album, All My Love (2003).
The album earned her accolades at the Metro FM Awards, South African Music Awards and Channel O Reel Music Awards.
The following year, she left 999 Music and teamed up with keyboardist Victor Mngomezulu, bassist Tshepo Sekele, and producer Robin Kohl, subsequently she was signed to Sony Music Africa and released her first major label album Feel Good in 2006.
The album led to multiple nominations and wins at the South African Music Awards.In July 2007 the album was released in Italy.
In 2010, she joined a line up of artists that included Alicia Keys, Shakira, K’Naan and John Legend, at the FIFA World Cup Kick-Off Concert performing a rendition of Pata Pata, a hit song originally recorded by the late Miriam Makeba.
Lira made her acting debut as the support lead in the Antonio Falduto directed drama, The Italian Consul (Il console italiano). In June 2011, the film premiered at the Taormina Film Festival in Italy where Lira became only the second African vocalist to grace the Teatro Del Greco stage since Miriam Makeba.