Brick and Lace’s gentle strength

The Jamaican duo Nyanda and Nailah Thorbourne, trading as Brick and Lace are here and set to rock Malawi this [Sunday] afternoon at the Country Club Limbe. KONDWANI KAMIYALA caught up with the two singing sensations, renowned for their 2007 release Love is Wicked, two hours after their arrival on Thursday.

So, what is Brick and Lace all about?

Nyanda: Brick and Lace represent two sides of a woman. A woman is so strong as a brick on one hand, yet so delicate as lace on the other. A complete woman must be a combination of the two: the strong side as well as the more delicate, sexy side. That is also evident in our music, which combines Jamaican rap slants and R&B.

What did you do before you came on the world music scene; where were you?

We were young entertainers in Jamaica anxious for an opportunity to let the world know our music. And we worked steadily at our project until the phones began to ring.

How many albums have you done so far?

Love is Wicked is our first album released internationally. And we’ve also done many compilation albums all across the world. We worked with Malawi’s Tay Grin in the 2009 single To Di Bone. We have also worked with such artists as Will I Am, Nicole Scherezhinger, Obie Trice and Bounty Killer.

Are there artists who have inspired you?

We grew up listening to so many musical genres. We were never selective. Nonetheless, Diana king, Lauryn Hill, Bob Marley and others deserve mention. We listened to so much music and appreciated it all.

Originally you started out as a trio, with your sister Tasha. What happened and what has kept you two together?

She is founding member but she decided to start a family and be behind the scenes. She does some song-writing and is in Miami. We have been together since we have held on to our dream. We have never wanted to stop. We want to fulfil that dream.

How does it feel to perform in Malawi, the ‘Warm Heart of Africa’?

It’s exciting to see what the vibe will be like in Malawi with our fans. We always welcome an opportunity to experience another African country, and consider it a privilege to be invited to Malawi. Africa is like our second home, you know most of Jamaicans have their roots in Africa. Africa and Jamaica have a lot of similarities. Africa is a beautiful continent and the people are one. We are just happy to be here.

How many times have you performed in Africa and how can you describe the experiences?

We have performed in many African nations and continue to be in awe of the beauty and the size of the continent. It is also heart-warming for us as Jamaicans to realise that some of our ancestors came from Africa.

There is talk of repatriation, where some Jamaican philosophers say Jamaicans must go back to Africa and stay there. Would you do that?

That would be quite difficult, as we are strongly tied to our families in Jamaica. Our parents and grandparents are in Jamaica. But the other time we were in Kenya, and I felt like wow, I can live here!

You look alike, are you twins?

Nailah:No! Nyanda is the older sister.

You performed at the Big Brother Grand Finale last year, how was it?

It was probably a lasting memory we will cherish for as long as we live because so many fans from across Africa came and were represented at the show in South Africa.

You are best known, in Malawi at least, for Love is Wicked. What is the song about?

There is a duality of pain and pleasure in love which we recognised and found ourselves writing about. It was natural… something most of us experience.

Nyanda, a little bird tells us that you will soon be a mother…

Nyanda: Giving birth is one of the greatest things to happen to women. Bringing a beautiful child into the earth is great. As a matter of fact, I am five months pregnant and I am not ashamed of my situation. I am still able to move, I still have my energy and I can have fun. After the Malawi show, I am going to concentrate on song-writing. There will be no more performances. I have been consulting a lot on my condition.

Who is the father? Have you decided on a name yet?

I can’t say who the father is, but on the name, we are researching on African names. They have deep meanings. Even our names have deep African roots.

Malawi has a number of woman artistes, what is your word to them?

Nailah: They have to wear a tough skin. The first impression that the world has of them is that they are an object, a sex object. But that is not true. Female artistes must push through and overcome the tide. To do that, they have to be passionate about their music.

Come this afternoon, what do you expect from your fans in Malawi? And will you be backed by a live band?

We are a group that respects and appreciates our fans… and that they unmistakenly see this in our performance. We have a DJ who spins the vibes for us.

Before your visit, there were reports that you didn’t perform well in Zambia and Zimbabwe. What do you say?

We don’t pay attention to such criticism. People have their own perceptions but we know we had good shows down there. If you love our music and appreciate our presentation, you will obviously come and experience the vibes.

Are you planning to visit the country scenes while you are here?

Yes, we are planning to go to Lake Malawi and are very excited to see the beauty of Malawi.

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