Actually that's a little unfair. While this follow-up to her Sama-winning début is another signature set of 'after hours' Afro-jazz originals, the mood isn’t exclusively one of supper club sedation. This doesn’t mean that Lira’s suddenly started conversing with her ancestors, ala Ubuntu balladeers like Simphiwe Dana or Thandiswa though.
Whether it’s a breezy Afro-Latin tête-à-tête ("Wa Mpaleha"), a percolating funk declaration of perseverance (“Rise Again”) or a suave old school soul caress (“Made For Me”), Lira knows how to pull off a 'quiet storm' seduction.
The title track is an impassioned piano-kissed prayer about embracing her femininity. "Another Day" and "Believer" give Sade's soulful urban pop torch songs a ready to wear Afropolitan revamp. And later a simple acoustic guitar kissed confessional about finding freedom ("My Company") is complemented by an inspirational adult contemporary crossover croon celebrating naivety ("Heart of A Child"). Shucks, is there anything for the guys, or is Soul In Mind tailored exclusively towards the sisters?
Not exclusively. "S'thandwa Sam" is a funky kasi-kissed two step about a girl wondering why her so-called boyfriend won't make their relationship public. And the upbeat finale "Celebrating Life" makes for a welcome invitation to finally hit the dance floor. To his credit, Jazzworx producer Robin Kohl keeps the ambience conversational with an un-intrusive canvas of acoustic guitar strums, mid-tempo drum sequences and always understated bass vamps.