Lira and Soweto Spiritual Singers got Nelson Mandela’s 92nd birthday celebrations off to an early start with a stirring – and extraordinarily emotional – live tribute to the global peace and reconciliation icon tonight.
Performing at Sony’s 3D experience pavilion “3D world Created by Sony” at Nelson Mandela Square in Johannesburg, on 4th July two weeks ahead of Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela’s birthday on July 18th.
The highlight of the evening’s performance was undoubtedly when Lira performed a version of the1985 anti-apartheid anthem, “(Something Inside) So Strong”, written by British poet, songwriter and singer, Labi Siffre. There was not a dry eye in the audience at Sony’s 3D experience pavilion when Lira sang this moving song for a man whose vision for a post-apartheid South Africa created the space for someone like Lira to take the spotlight.
“(Something Inside) So Strong” was just one of several songs performed by the multi-award winning, multi-platinum-selling artist in honour of Mr Mandela and beamed into his home via a live Skype link.
Adding emotional impact to Lira’s live show was the presence of the Soweto-based Soweto Spiritual Singers who have been catapulted onto the global stage through an inspired collaboration with R. Kelly – “Sign of a Victory”, the official 2010 FIFA World Cup Anthem (as featured at the event’s opening ceremony on June 11th and on Listen Up! The Official 2010 Fifa World Cup Album). The warmth of the Soweto Spiritual Singers offset Lira’s emotion-packed performance that gave every indication of her love for the man South Africans know simply as Madiba.
Lira’s tribute to Mr Mandela saw the singer (who was named Best Female Artist two years in a row – 2009 and 2010 – at the annual MTN
South African Music Awards) confirm her standing as South Africa’s premier solo female artist. Performing in front of an invited audience, this very special event proved a fitting start for the upcoming celebrations in honour of South Africa’s most beloved public figure.
A recorded version of the performance is now available on YouTube and several other digital platforms.