Lira – South African star

Eclectic. Soulful. Versatile. These are just a few ways to describe South Africa’s soul queen, Lira. Although she is best remembered for her dazzling performance at the 2010 FIFA kick off concert, this 33 year old songbird has been in the music scene for over a decade and has 6 multi-platinum albums under her belt.

Before Lira became a household name in South Africa, she was known as Lerato Molapo a bright accounting student moonlighting as a singer but her big break came when she won a South African contest for young singers. A few years later in 2000, she released her debut album and Lira has not looked back since. Her most recent album “Rise again” garnered a well deserved 2012 BET nomination for best international artist.

What I love the most about Lira is her live performances. She has powerful stage presence and knows how to woo her audience with her sultry voice. I cannot wait for Lira to show case her talent on the international scene.

Nayanka Bell

For over 3 decades, Ivorian song bird Nayanka Bell has charmed audiences with her sultry voice. Born in 1954, Nyanka’s love for music has led to several collaborations with some of Africa’s favourite musicians. Her 2000 duet (Je T’aime) with Congo’s Koffi Olomide brought new life to Zouk music in Africa. Zouk is an incredibly sensuous and rhythmic music which has its roots in the Caribbean.

Sleepless in Toronto

The above title appropriately sums up the week I have had. The end of July is a CRAZY time in Toronto and last week, I was in the thick of it. I started the week with a behind-the-scenes tour of the Saldenah Mas-K camp to see how they make all the lovely costumes. I returned home at midnight and by the time I had edited the newly acquired footage, it was 5am. By 8.30am, I was dolled up and ready to ‘jump and wave.’ Caribana reminded me of my younger days in London chasing after the parade in Notinghill gate. However, unlike my younger days, after 2 hours of, I could simply not keep up. I would like to blame it on the sun but, truth be told, I am old and rusty.

The morning after, I could have sworn I had been attacked by the arthritis monster. My body ached and my eyes were stinging from yet another 3 hour attempt at sleep. I woke up groggy and dazed to touch up my nappy roots, run errands, and attend the “Irie Festival’ where a diverse group of dancers entertained the crowd. My favourite performance of the day came from the Harmabee dance Company. They were awesome. You will get to see their moves when I release a clip of their performance and my follow up interview with them.

The final act of the day was a performance by the talented Reggae artist Gyptian. Now here is a guy who can SING. And he can DANCE, and he knows how to get the crowd pumped. I will tell you more about the concert and my interview with Gyptian in another post so I can do justice to the juicy details.

By the time my cheeks kissed my pillow, it was 3am. Today, I plan to eat left overs from last night’s dinner and get reacquainted with my bed, my couch, my floor, my bath tub… Get your mind out of the gutter – I just want to SLEEP.

Music: Jay Ghartey

Here is fresh new music from Jay Ghartey which is changing the landscape of African music. The authentic and vibrant beats of songs like ‘My lady’ and ‘Me do wo’ resonates of the true High Life music that Ghana is known for.

The tracks on the album are the perfect blend of Jay’s Ghanaian- American heritage, with track 7 ‘Black Star’ certain to be a summer Hit. The music videos sidestep offensive lyrics and the commercialised booty shaking which has began to trivialize the essence of Hip-life. By embracing the rythm, the land, and the richness of their roots, the GH brothers have successfully captured the beauty of Africa in their music.

Written by Amma Bonsu