South African singer Lira is a huge star in her homeland. She’s had countless hits, won numerous awards and shared the spotlight with people like John Legend, Alicia Keys and Nelson Mandela and now her people think the time’s right for her to move on up to the global stage. The chosen vehicle for the task is a brand new album that pushes the East Johannesburg-born vocalist into modern R&B territory though there are still plenty of Afrocentric moments here along with a cover of Labi Siffre’s ‘Something Inside So Strong’.
Lira makes a respectful job of Sifre’s anthem which is enhanced by some outstanding choral harmonies. On it she proves why her voice has won her a hatful of music awards. That emotive voice remains in fine form on the contemporary soul beater ‘Feel Good’ and the lighter ‘Rise Again’ while on the dramatic ballad that is ‘Soul In Mind’ she shows she has the ability to take on the best of the soul diva big hitters. Ballad wise, I preferred the less histrionic and much sweeter ‘Believer’ and ‘With My Eyes’. And if you like flavours of the Caribbean, try the reggae-infused ‘Valley Of Darkness’. It’s a world flavour complemented by three Afrocentric cuts – ‘Ixesha’, ‘Hamba’ and ‘Phakade’. The lyrics are African and the rhythms offer various tempos.
Lira’s ‘Rise Again’ is out now and you can find out more @ www.misslira.com