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A night with Maya Azucena


Maya sharing the stage with Bhudaza
Maya sharing the stage with Bhudaza

. . . as Grammy-award winner enchants Maseru

Mohalenyane Phakela

AMERICAN singer and songwriter Maya Azucena left an indelible impression through a masterful performance and interaction with local artistes who also featured at her concert at AVANI Maseru on Friday night.

Visiting foreign artistes often perform and leave immediately afterwards, making little or no effort to interact with local acts they would have shared the stage with. However, it was a different scenario altogether with Maya.

The multi award-winning songbird arrived five days before the concert and put that time to good use, rehearsing with the local artistes she subsequently shared the stage with.

The artistes who were drawn from different musical genres included Bhudaza, Serumula Performing Arts Academy (SPAA), Mookho and Sadon. Sir Schaba belted out house tunes in between the performances to keep revelers on their feet.

Maya pleasantly surprised the audience when she joined Bhudaza on stage and added an exciting flavour that gave a new lease of life to Bhudaza’s 2007 club banger Tjontjobina. It was as though the Grammy award-winner had been familiar with the local sound for years.

She also won over many hearts when she took to the dancefloor during the local artists’ solo performances showcasing her dance moves while also imitating the locals on the dance-floor.

Cabinet ministers Dr Molotsi Monyamane (Health) and Monyane Moleleki (Police), United States (US) Ambassador to Lesotho Matthew Harrington as well as former Finance minister Dr Timothy Thahane also showcased their dance moves.

The Cry Love singer performed songs from her different albums including Set You Free where she featured SPAA.

Maya’s visit to Lesotho is part of the celebration of the 50 years of friendship between Basotho and the United States.

In his key note speech, Ambassador Harington outlined the benefits of the friendship, including education and health programmes for Basotho.

“For 50 years, the people of Lesotho and United States have enjoyed vibrant warm relations. One of our biggest partnership programs is the PEPFAR where we work very closely with the government of Lesotho and other stakeholders to address the challenge of HIV/AIDS in the country. I would like to thank Minister Monyamane for his hard work and vision in the health sector and grateful that we are working side by side,” Ambassador Harrington said.

“Other programmes include the Peace Corps who are impacting on different communities around Lesotho since 1967 through educational initiatives. The AGOA programme further allows over 40 000 people to support their families through job creation and more than 500 Basotho have also engaged in US sponsored programmes.

“It is appropriate we celebrate this partnership through music which is the universal language that unites different cultures and tonight’s collaboration between US singer and Basotho artistes is symbolic of the partnership we have been enjoying for the past 50 years,” he said.

For his part, Dr Monyamane commended the US government for supporting Basotho through thick and thin.

“As we celebrate 50 years of Independence we also celebrate 50 years of friendship with the US government. The US has played a great role in the education of our people especially in mathematics and science. They have had a great influence on our fashion taste as well as we have been wearing brands like Levi which shows cross-fertilisation of cultures,” Dr Monyamane said.

“When other countries deserted us in 1994, the US stood by us. Even now they still stand with us despite all our challenges. Through the Millennium Challenge Account we were able to have the ladies empowered as they can now own land and get loans from banks.

“(US President Barack) Obama, who is our African ambassador in the United States, ensured that the young people in Lesotho are trained to be leaders through the Young Africans Leadership Initiative.”

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