Monday, August 24, 2009

Laura Izibor: Black in Ireland

Laura Izibor that new star from Ireland. In an interview with the Guardian Laura Izibor also talked about her family history.

“I quote the line to Laura Izibor, the 21-year-old Irish/Nigerian singer-songwriter sitting on the sofa next to me. "Ireland's really changing now," she says. "The Irish themselves aren't completely aware of what change is going on, because they are in it. It was horrible for my father 20 years ago - that's a lot of the reason why he had to move away to London. He couldn't get a job. He used to cycle everywhere and people would stop in their tracks and go, 'I just saw a black fella, he was riding a bike.'" (Izibor's father came to Dublin from Nigeria to look for work; he and her Irish mother separated when she was eight.) Today, however, Izibor is happy to call herself Irish, and the Irish are just as happy to claim her as their own."

The present black Irish population is predominantly of recent immigrant origin, arriving from the mid-1990s onwards from West African countries such as Nigeria.( Source: Wikipedia)

Isabor’s personal story reminded me of an interview with Mel B of the Spice Girls. In an interview she said, that she remembered sitting in the bus on the lap of her English mother. Her father, who is black, sat next to them. But when racist groups boarded the bus, her mother quickly sat her on the lap of her father.

Somehow these stories characterise the UK in the past. But the UK, just as Ireland, have changed. Although more change is always welcome.

But! She recently performed overseas in the US. The Washington Post wrote about her:

“Irish-born singer-of-the-moment Laura Izibor has drawn comparisons to another vocalist who also experienced a meteoric rise a couple of years back: Corinne Bailey Rae. Everyone seems to lump them together simply because they both have adorable accents, curly mops of hair, debut albums that vacillate between exuberance and depression, and singles screaming for inclusion in an hour-long drama.”


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