During the tour two worthy female candidates will tour alongside Burhenn as well as collaborate with strong local female musicians Inge Beckmann, Shotgun Tori, Lucy Kruger and Eve Rakow, learning invaluable practical performance skills.

Perdeby chatted to the mentor of The Songbird Tour candidates, Lana Crowster (who is also a graduate of Africa Voices Trust Development Program), about the tour.

 As a pilot programme, securing an artist such as Laura Burhenn must be quite exciting. Why is she the artist of choice for this kind of project?

Lana Crowster. Image Provided. The programme is geared towards empowering musicians with                                                                 knowledge and experiences that will help them to effectively navigate their way through the music industry. With this tour, we have selected two female students, in keeping with the Songbirds theme. Laura is the perfect candidate as her music often chronicles the empowerment of woman and their place in society as revolutionaries, and her consistent and continued success in the music industry only strengthens her involvement with the Africa Voices Music Development Program.


The programme has chosen two students to train and tour alongside Laura Burhenn, which means they will gain invaluable practical experience. Why is this kind of experience so important in producing well-rounded local artists?
In music, as in any field of study, it is important to be mentored at some stage in one’s path by someone who has reached certain heights in their career. It teaches one to aspire to reaching a higher level and inspires creativity rooted in productivity, and pushes one to think “outside of the box”. Local artists who do well in the industry are those who are fully aware of their place, not only on the SA music scene but also globally. Inspiration, aspiration and global awareness are essential tools for young artists and the earlier they are presented with these ideas, the sooner exploration of these ideas can take place, thus resulting in a greater effect than initially desired.


How has your personal experience of the training been?
It has been a positively overwhelming experience thus far. I have been lucky enough to have had many amazing mentors in my 12 years of performing. It’s a great privilege for me to share my knowledge and “pay it forward” to a new generation of female performers.


How do you see this project progressing in the future?
I would like to see this project progressing into an international tour. It would be great to experience what touring in a foreign country alongside the students would be like.


Your job must be quite taxing having to liaise between the students of the African Voices Trust Program and the international and local artists. What is the most rewarding part of your job?
Apart from the performance aspect, the most rewarding part of my job is witnessing the transformation in the students. Seeing them go from shy girls to powerful, confident woman on and off stage … watching them take ownership of their artistry. Priceless.


South Africans are very unique people that have created many successes for themselves. What do you think is our young artists’ best star quality?
Our young artists are not afraid to embrace their Africanism. Regardless of race, religion and political views, the pride young artists take in being African is what will continue the trend. We own who we are and where we come from. It’s the greatest asset any young artist could carry.


What is your personal vision and hope for the students that you will be taking on tour?
For the students: I hope they take in every aspect of this tour and learn as much as they can, not only from Laura, myself and the crew, but more importantly themselves. Being on the long road leaves lots of room for epiphanies … I hope they experience a few great ones. I know I will.


Catch the last performance of The Songbird Tour on 17 July at the PopArt Theatre and Performing Arts Centre in Johannesburg. Details for the Johannesburg show can be found at www.onefridayishere.com

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