Art & Entertainment

Lira on female musicians, inspiration and challenges

Visiting South Africa song bird Lira (real name Lerato Molapo) has challenged the Zimbabwean community to regard their female musicians highly as a way to prop them up if they are to match their male counterparts.

Lira was speaking at a press conference on the sidelines of the Harare International Festival of the Arts (HIFA) ahead of her performance on the Main Stage. She also spoke about her high regard for the late political icon and Mother of the SA nation, Winnie Mandela, and the inspiration of her life, Miriam Makeba, whom she said was “fearlessly beautiful in a time that African beauty really didn’t have a picture.

“She was an epitome of that and I personally built myself on her. Miriam is an all-time icon for me,” she said.

The linguist musician (she speaks four languages) is a platinum selling artist and an 11 time South African Music Awards recipient whose genre is Afro-Soul, but she fuses it with a bit of funk, soul and jazz elements.

“If you love the music your female artists are putting up, it props them up some more. Think of it if you had a daughter who wanted to get into the music industry, would it touch you more then?

Turning to the late “Madikizela”, Lira said on the request of her Zimbabwean fan base, she had considered paying tribute in song to Winnie whom she said was a “Mother to all of us.” To this effect, she has done a song titled Born Free, which is a title track to her latest album.

It touches on the theme of freedom, especially with regards the current generation. Lira believes the generation of today has the freedom to make choices instead of regurgitating the narrative of the old as if it is their own.

“By so doing, we’re claiming experiences that are not ours, thereby limiting ourselves to what we are capable of. We certainly need to consider the freedoms at our disposal which will allow us to make informed choices and therefore building a new future.” She said being a musician, one should be inspired to leave a legacy that changes a narrative.

Lira (Centre) flanked by the new NetOne CEO Lazarus Muchenje and HIFA’s Manuel Bagorro

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