South African multi-award winner Lira said she is raring for Saturday’s Mingoli Jazz Festival at the Bingu International Conference Centre (Bicc) in Lilongwe.
Speaking exclusively to The Nation, the Afro-pop diva said, although this is her visit to Malawi, she is looking forward to share her music with a new audience.
“I have never visited Malawi although I have quite a few Malawian acquaintances. I look forward to share my music with a new audience—Malawi has been on my bucket list for quite some time. I am so excited that I can finally visit,” she said.
According to her biography on KTLA 5 TV’s website, Lira has been called the ‘Beyonce of Africa’, releasing four multi-platinum selling albums, two platinum selling concert DVDs, a top selling autobiography and graced the covers of numerous fashion and lifestyle magazines while winning accolades from the South African Music Awards, MTV Africa Awards and Mojo Awards as well as Glamour Magazine South Africa’s ‘Woman of the Year.’
She currently has the largest Facebook following of any South African artist, in excess of over half a million fans and regularly performs to sold out stadiums in Africa.
She was hailed by Essence Magazine as one of the ‘Five Unique Artists Set to Change Music’ and has appeared in L’Uomo Vogue and Forbes as well as South African issues of Women’s Health, Elle, Glamour, Cosmo, Oprah and Marie Claire.
Lira performed at the 2010 Fifa World Cup Kick-Off Concert alongside Alicia Keys, Shakira, Black Eyed Peas, K’Naan and John Legend and has received a range of praise from Oprah, John Legend and Hugh Masekela to actor Idris Elba and Oscar award winning film director Oliver Stone.
And in the interview with The Nation, Lira confessed knowing little about Malawi or Malawian music.
“The lake is obviously world famous but in my experience, the Malawians that I have met are among the warmest and friendliest people I have ever met. I also know very little except about Malawian music except for one Malawian musician who has worked on numerous songs with me over the years,” she said without naming the musician.
Lira, however, said she is looking forward to learning about Malawian culture, the people, the food, the dance and ultimately the music of Malawi. “I try to learn a new dance move in every country I visit—I hope someone will teach me.”
The South African songstress said she would not have time to collaborate with local musicians while she is here.
“Unfortunately, I am visiting for a very short time, but I hope this will be the start of new things to come. I am always writing new material and inspiration comes from all walks of life,” she said, further hailing Standard Bank for the Mingoli Jazz Festival.
“This will be the 20th country I have visited in Africa and I aim to visit all of them in my lifetime. To be truly pan-African, one has to physically experience the diversity of different African cultures.
“We have so many similarities and yet so many individualities. Music has the power to bring people together and this festival is an incredible opportunity to achieve that,” she said. n