Lerato "Lira" Molapo was born in Daveyton, South Africa, on March 14, 1979. After winning a competition for young singers and songwriters, Lira started performing live at the age of 16, singing both cover versions and self-penned songs. In 2000 she was discovered by musician and producer Arthur…
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When people talk about modern afro soul several names come to mind such as Zahara, Zamajobe, Simphiwe Dana, and Nomfusito mention a few. However, no discussion on afro soul is complete without mentioning South African songbird Lira. Lira has achieved massive critical and commercial success since the release of her debut album All My Love in 2003. She’s South Africa’s most prolific female singer and deservedly so. So when news broke that she was set to perform in my home country Malawi, I was excited beyond what words could express. She was booked to perform at the inaugural edition of the Blue Mingoli music event.
I’ve been to concerts held by highly acclaimed artists which disappointed the hell out of me. The worst concerts always seem to be held by urban musicians, but I digress. I was annoyed by the fact that the show delayed considerably to get started, but these things are expected at concerts. The curtain raiser, Lulu, gave a performance which was satisfactory; nothing special at all. It felt slightly out of place considering the audience (it was a corporate event) and the act that would follow him. Lulu’s music is vastly different from Lira’s – but then on second thought maybe that’s exactly why they chose him.
After Lulu’s performance it was time for the main attraction. Music aside, Lira’s is a sight to behold; she’s stunning. She hit the stage with her band and backup singers and the atmosphere changed. She held everyone’s attention from the time she sang her first few notes all the way the end of her set. She sang songs from her various albums. Damn that woman has a hella lot of energy on the stage. She danced her ass off. Save for Da T.R.U.T.H. and Lecrae who I watched in concert a couple of years ago, there’s no artist I’ve seen with more energy. This lady is an animal on that stage and her energy is infectious. I expected a laid back show where we’d all sit back and soak in the music but boy was I wrong.
Truth be told a lot of people had no idea who Lira was before she performed, but they attended mostly because of the excitement that had built up. After the show I’m certain that every person left that auditorium knowing who she is. She had the usual autograph and picture session afterwards – not usually my thing. But because of the power of her performance I made an exception. It was truly a brilliant show.