On the 1s and 2s: Lira’s a star to watch and support

2010-11-02 07:28

Some eight years ago I visited Arthur “King of Kwaito” Mafokate’s house in Vorna Valley, Midrand, to interview his then superstar band Abashante.

We had hardly settled in the lounge and sank into the luxurious sofas when Mafokate walked in with a young musician with a lithe body and a megawatt smile.

She had a quiet confidence about her as she stretched out her hand to greet me and my photographer colleague, “Hi, I am Lira,” she said. She looked 14. It was only later that I learnt she was in her 20s.

We didn’t say much to each other, except to listen to Arthur’s PR spiel about what a great artist the young woman was to become.

She retreated to the studio where she’d been messing around on the piano. A few months later I saw the young girl again at an event where she performed. She wore a hat and sang her famous song All My Love Is Yours and her voice alone was enough to convert you into her fan.

We had become familiar with each other and I learnt that she was a colleague’s classmate in high school. By now to me she was Lerato Moipone Molapo from Daveyton. But then she disappeared.

Never to be seen again or heard from.Fast-forward to four years later. And I meet her again at the now infamous Zambezi Lounge in Wynberg driving a Chevy Spark; her unassuming nature still in place and that quiet confidence… She was there to check out the place which was all the rage in the Jozi party circuit.

Nothing could have prepared me for the tsunami that was to follow the release of her album Feel Good, which won her an armful of awards at the SA Music Awards, and the subsequent Soul in Mind.

Then came her DVD Live in Concert which also set new records, selling more than 50?000 copies and still counting.

I saw Lira shoot up into the stratosphere of superstardom and become the front runner for that accolade as the next Miriam Makeba or Brenda Fassie. She has all the makings of an icon.

While she has pop appeal, she remains true to her sound and is genuine with her commitment to the art.

Whether she sings her Xhosa hit Ixesha or the playful Sotho tune Wa Mpaleha, Lira transcends language barriers and continues to inspire music lovers. This week she reached several milestones.

She became the first South African personality probably besides Nelson Mandela to have 150?000 followers on Facebook.

She also tweeted that a section of Maponya Mall would be named after her. She continues to be to be a crowd puller and is in high demand as she performs all over the country.

Everyone wants a piece of Lira magic and I’m pretty certain she will keep it coming. From the rough gem I saw at 999Music to a tour de force that continues to sizzle on stage, music charts and magazine covers Lira maintains her quiet confidence and remains humble. Now that’s a star to watch and support!

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