Lira stuns, Lulu dazzles in Blue Mingoli concert
Ahead of the inaugural Blue Mingoli concert at Bingu International Conference Centre in Lilongwe on Saturday, some quarters questioned Standard Bank as to why they decided to bring South Africa’s singer Lira who they felt was not well known.
Others went on to say that Standard Bank had lost track this year with Lira’s presence having done well previously in the Joy of Jazz now rebranded to Blue Mingoli, when they brought well-known artists in South Africa’s Zahara and US jazz maestro Earl Klugh.
But those critics were forced to eat their words on Saturday as Lira showed that she was an 11 times South African Music Award-winning Afro-Soul vocalist when she dished out an omelette of music from start to finish.
Her ending was even classic and electric when she pulled almost everyone in the 1,500 capacity hall which included members of the diplomatic corps, business gurus, artists and politicians to the dance floor.
Having performed for close to an hour and half, the singer told the audience she was so grateful for the support and that she was hopeful that people had enjoyed the sound.
But before she signed off, Lira, who grew up listening to Miriam Makeba, Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin and Nina Simone who would eventually inspire her own song writing performed the hit ‘Patapata.’
‘Patapata,’ is the song which was originally recorded by late Makeba.
She lifted the audience with the song, which she performed in summer of 2010, joining a line up of artists that included Alicia Keys, Shakira, K’Naan and John Legend, at the Fifa World Cup Kick-Off concert.
Some of her songs were strange to the audience but as a musician, she made it possible for people to appreciate the songs and even sing along.
Lira also proved that she was not only a singer but a dancer and she danced with energy throughout backed by her Love Band.
She entered the stage with the title track of her 2014 album ‘Rise Again,’ and moved on with her basket of soul, funk and jazz music and even played a fast one singing some of the lyrics in her songs in the local language.
“Thank you for having us, hope you enjoyed every moment. I am so grateful to be here amongst you tonight. Zikomo kwambiri,” said Lira.
Her songs are rich in message and on the night she dwelled more on love songs.
The singer born Lerato Molapo also had time to drop the popular rendition ‘(Something Inside) So Strong,’ a 1987 single written and recorded by British singer-songwriter Labi Siffre.
Before Lira took to the stage, Lulu also showed his magic as he also offered a power packed performance.
Backed by a band made up of among others Chisomo Ngondo and Sam Mjura Mkandaire on keyboards and saxophonist Dan Sibale, Lulu who has celebrated his 10 years in music this year shined.
Most of his songs were known by the audience who sang along but his last piece ‘Nzalera,’ was the icing on the cake which even made Zimbabwean ambassador Thandiwe Dumbushena to go down dancing.
“Lira is a performer, I have enjoyed her performance and to share the stage tonight was something special, hope to build something together,” said Lulu.
Standard Bank Head of Marketing Thoko Unyolo described this as a spectacular show.
“We are happy with the turnout and the performances from Lulu and Lira stunned us. All we can say is people should wait for bigger things next year,” said Unyolo said.
Other artists Phyzix, Lucius Banda and Tay Grin also described the performances of Lira and Lulu as the best.
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