On Sunday July 24, 2011 I was very excited to be in the house as South African megastar, Lira (full name “ Lerato Molapo”), made her captivating US debut to a sold out crowd at World Café Live in Philadelphia, “the city of brotherly love and sisterly affection”.
From the moment she walked on stage singing (personal favorite) “Phakade”, Lira had the crowd captivated. Her stage presence and energy never faltered throughout her 90 minute show, as she delivered her unique blend of afro-soul/ jazz/ R&B with intense passion, switching effortlessly between English, Zulu and Xhosa songs. Lira, who is described by TIME OUT NY magazine as “sweet-voiced and deeply funk some”, has an amazing voice which to me sounds like a blend between Anita Baker and Sade.
It was very evident throughout the show that she was very excited to be fulfilling her lifelong dream of performing in the US. In between songs, she interacted with the crowd and told us how for someone who grew up in South Africa during the final years of apartheid (1980s & early 90s) where black people were still oppressed and discouraged from even “looking at white people in the face”; it was a big deal for her to have been able to dream limitlessly. Performing in the US was one of those childhood dreams and it was awesome, as a big fan of her music, to witness her first night of accomplishing that dream.
Over the last decade, this Sony Music recording artist has built an incomparable career peppered with numerous accomplishments and accolades. She was won many awards including: South African Music Awards, MTV Africa Awards and MOJO Awards as well as Glamour Magazine South Africa’s Woman of the Year. As well as achieving multi-platinum sales with her music, Lira is also fashion icon having graced numerous magazine covers in Africa.
This US tour has served as a perfect introduction to US audiences, culminating with the July 26 US release of a 5 track EP entitled LIRA. To date Lira has already released 4 platinum selling albums and a multi-platinum Live DVD which became South Africa’s fastest and highest selling music DVD. The Lira EP will be followed by a full length release in the US of “Feel Good” in early 2012. Judging by the Philly crowd’s reaction to her show and how successful she has been in other parts of the world, Lira is surely about to take the US market by storm.
For more on Lira see: www.misslira.co.za
Photographs from the Philadelphia – World Café Music Live show courtesy of “Mbhef Creations “: https://www.facebook.com/mbhefphoto