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Concert Review By THE SUNDAY STANDARD NEWSPAPER, BOTSWANA
Lorraine Lionheart holds her own in charity concert
by Thobo Motlhoka
“I think music is the greatest art form that exists, and I think people listen to music for different reasons, and it serves different purposes. Some of it is background music, and some of it is things that might affect a person's day, if not their life, or change an attitude. The best songs are the ones that make you feel something.”
American rocker, HYPERLINK "http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/e/eddie_vedder.html"Eddie Vedder’s words perfectly describe both Lorraine Lionheart’s deep-rooted fusion of tswana folklore music and her selfless desire to dedicate her talent, time and resources to give back to the less fortunate.
They say you are as good as your last performance and after Saturday night’s performance at Westwood International School, the UK-based songstress can go back overseas with her head held high.
Granted, the attendance was relatively disappointing especially for a charity event but thankfully Lionheart knows wowing the crowd, no matter how small, from the stage is definitely a priority at any gig.
If you play the best show of your life and only five people paid in, your good performance will be entrenched in the minds of the small crowd and in the long run guarantee more shows.
Although she seemed understandably nervous at first, her anxiety seemed to have mellowed midway through her first song, ‘Selina’, which she says she once performed together with Banjo Mosele in Oslo, Norway .
One of the things one may appreciate about Lionheart’s on stage performance is how she shares the story and lets the crowd appreciate the meaning behind every song she performs.
And because some of the songs are remakes of our popular Setswana folk music it was easy for the crowed to identify with it and for the elders, the show was nostalgically reminiscent of the good old times. Her fourth performance of the night was yet another popular song, ‘Maruapula.’
“This is a song about rain. Coincidentally every time I sang this song in the UK it would rain and because it rains so much that people get fed up with rain, someone literally begged me not to play the song anymore,” she said.
She also played ‘My African Song’, ‘About A Girl’ and a crowd favorite, ‘Solomon’, which she had to perform all over again thanks to calls from the audience asking for an encore.
Despite having lived for over a decade overseas, Lionheart’s music has incredibly deep Setswana roots which she says she dug up from her own childhood. Musical roots buried in the dusty soils of the Kalahari Desert where she grew up.
You cannot fake the music. You might be a great singer or a great musician but in the end, that has nothing to do with it. It is how you connect, relate and identify with the songs and the history behind them that you can come up with such brilliant fusion as Lorraine Lionheart did. Artists can utilize music not just to line their own pockets but to; bring about change; to bring up the force of compassion, forgiveness and kindness; and all things that bind us together as a society. It is through artists like Lionheart, in their quest to help the less fortunate, that we can resuscitate the compassionate and caring culture that used to characterize our nation.
Local artists and the issue of advocacy
United Kingdom based songwriter and artist, Lorraine Lionheart’s charity concert held this past weekend at Westwood International School had a low turnout.
THE GAZETTE NEWSPAPER BOTSWANA
With the concerts slogan that read, ‘In Botswana 200, 000 children out of a population of 2 million are orphans.’ Lionheart’s aim was to donate the proceeds from the concert to charity organizations of her choice.
Even though a few people turned up, the Afro Jazz artist delivered her promise of putting in good energy and dedication into her performances. She walked onto the stage clad in her signature African print attire and her long dreads flowing through her shoulders and sang one her Afro rhythm song with emotion.
Tlamelo Atlhopheng who was in attendance shared with Time Out; “Lorraine is extremely talented and looks like she enjoys what she is doing. Despite the low turnout, she looked dedicated onstage and I just wish more people had come to witness her performance. On the part of the organizing team I think they should have worked more on spreading the word about the show because not many people knew about it.”
Lionheart was born in Ghanzi 31 years ago and resides in England. Her music is highly influenced by the way of life and culture of the San people. She is currently making her way to the top as she wants to see her music across the world and is looking forward to finding Batswana partners.
THE NGAMI TIMES
The British-based Motswana singer-songwriter Lorraine Lionheart has launched a campaign to fight for the rights of Basarwa. The singer, who was born and raised in Ghanzi and lived with the Basarwa for most of her childhood, says after years of following the case of the Basarwa from the sidelines, she is determined to ensure her involvement makes a huge difference, not only to benefit the Basarwa, but also to bring positive change in Batswana’s misperception of Basarwa.
Lorraine said: “I am very committed to making a difference to the lives of affected Basarwa and this gives me a great opportunity to give back to a community that made me who I am. “This will be one of the toughest, yet most exhilarating challenges of my life yet, but Basarwa are worth it and I am following my heart and doing what I believe is the right thing.
I am confident that with a better understanding of the issues, Batswana will support my cause and it is also in Botswana’s best interest for justice to be done. “I’m running this campaign out of my love of the Basarwa tribe and my adoration and respect for their culture and way of life.
“When a lot of people think about times changing and progress in a developing country like Botswana, in their minds they visualize new fancy shopping centers, more schools and generally a more cosmopolitan way of life. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that; however the way I see it, tolerance of other human beings’ way of life regardless of any differences, cultural or otherwise, is the most positive and progressive demonstration of true civilization.”
Lorraine Lionheart says the key aim of her campaign is awareness of the Basarwa’s struggle. Other objectives are:
• To use the power of public opinion to influence the government to work with and for the Basarwa instead of against them.
• To sensitize the general public to the issues of the Basarwa and help create a better understanding of their lives, making it easier for people to make informed choices and also to enhance their understanding of what development and civilisation really mean.
• To make the Botswana public aware that they are also accountable for the negative way they have treated and perceived Basarwa for many years, and to deal with how to break the deadly cycle of prejudice attitudes that are passed from one generation to another.
• To instil pride amongst Batswana of all our nation’s cultures, and contribute to building a united nation that is tolerant, that respects its ethnic and cultural diversity, and that lives up to its globally admired image.
Information about the campaign is available of her website www.lorrainelionheart.com and on the Facebook page dedicated to this campaign:
Lionheart for Basarwa – The Bushmen Human Rights Campaign.
Lorraine Lionheart is available for corporate events, festivals and other music events, African music workshops, African themed parties, internationally, around Europe and around the