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Saturday , August 24 2019

‘Lubnaaan!’ star Shakira sings at magical cedars

Beck embraces weirdo

BCHARRE, Lebanon, July 14, (Agencies): Shakira performed at the ancient cedars of Lebanon on Friday in a mountaintop concert in the land of her ancestors.

The Colombian singer-songwriter delighted a crowd of thousands gathered under the stars near the “Forest of the Cedars of God” in northern Lebanon, where she said she was proud to be singing in the land of her grandparents.

“Lubnaaan! It’s amazing to be in this magical setting, it’s surreal, thank you so much for having me tonight,” she said after her opening songs, using the Arabic word for Lebanon.

“This means so much to me to be singing in the land of my grandparents,” she said. “I feel so proud of these cedars, so proud of my heritage and so proud of you,” said Shakira, 41, to cheers from the crowd.

Shakira, who was born in Colombia to a Lebanese father and Colombian mother, first performed in Lebanon in 2011.

Earlier in the day, she planted a cedar tree at a nearby nature reserve. The Forest of the Cedars of God and nearby Qadish valley are on UNESCO’s World Heritage List.

Shakira performed songs from her 11th album, El Dorado, which was released last year as well as classic hits such as ‘Estoy Aqui’ and ‘Whenever, Wherever’. She also belly danced.

Part of a world tour, the Shakira concert marked the start of the Cedars International Festival, one of a number of music festivals hosted by Lebanon each summer.

Shakira on Friday visited the village in Lebanon where her paternal grandmother was born, an AFP journalist said.

“Hello Tannourine, thank you, I am happy to be here!”, the 41-year-old singer said in Arabic during a visit under high security to the village of Tannourine in Lebanon’s mountainous north.


Accompanied by local officials, Shakira visited a nature reserve that grows cedar trees — Lebanon’s national emblem — and planted two saplings.

To mark the occasion, a small patch of the reserve was named “Shakira Mubarak” — after one of the singer’s family names, Tannourine’s mayor Bahaa Harb said.

This is Shakira’s third visit to the country. Her first visit came in 2003 and she returned in 2011 for a concert.

The artist is in Lebanon with her two sons.

As Beck has solidified his role as one of music’s most influential figures, listeners have accepted a bargain — on record, or live, they never know exactly what they’re going to get.

Playing Thursday night to thousands at Quebec City’s summer festival on the sweeping Plains of Abraham battle site, Beck quickly made clear that his classic, wacky side was in the house.

“Love machines on the sympathy crutches / Discount orgies on the dropout bases,” Beck sang as he kicked off his set with “Devil’s Haircut,” which also opened his best-selling album, 1996’s “Odelay.”

Backed by a seven-member band, Beck ripped into his catalog with crescendoing force, the powerful, quick-shifting drums of Chris Coleman driving the way and bluesy keys and bass building a marathon extended version of “Where It’s At.”

“Odelay” cemented Beck as one of the progenitors of alternative rock, with his suave fusion of funky rhythms, grungy guitars and hip-hop delivery, coupled with surrealist lyricism that references street life in his native Los Angeles and science fiction, providing inspiration to two decades of artists.

But Beck has also defied predictability. In 2015, he was the surprise winner of the Grammy for Album of the Year with “Morning Phase,” one of two works on which Beck strips back the layers for mournful, acoustic reflections.

As if heeding a music industry narrative, Beck last year followed up the Grammy with his most mainstream pop album to date, “Colors.”


Beck, who on his breakthrough hit “Loser” spoke of shaving with mace in the dark and maggots on his sleeve, instead is singing, “All the colors, see the colors, make the colors, feel the colors.”

Yet “Colors” was no knee-jerk album, with Beck postponing its release for a year as he fine-tuned an elaborate production, and Beck seamlessly brought the songs, with their boisterous beats, into his live show.

Clad as a hipster cowboy in a black-and-white checkered shirt and boots before switching to a pink coat, Beck voiced amazement at the size of the crowd assembled before one of North America’s largest stages, set on the site where British forces routed the French from Canada in 1759.

Beck took care when segueing to the more intimate sounds of “Morning Phase,” bringing his band to the front as if in a group serenade.

Yet alone with his guitar, Beck also offered a free-wheeling version of “Debra” — in which his Hyundai, heading to a suburban shopping mall, becomes a spaceship — and, as has become his wont, an acoustic, falsetto-driven cover of Prince’s pop classic “Raspberry Beret.”

The Purple One also made a less expected appearance as the hard funk rhythms of his song “Controversy” introduced to the stage Phoenix — a band whose infectious electro-pop in fact steers clear of controversy.

In an unusual opening slot for a group that has headlined top US festival Coachella, the French rockers cranked up the bass to painful levels before a joyous set led by tunes from their latest album, the Italian holiday-themed “Ti Amo.”

Frontman Thomas Mars, slipping the cherry-red microphone into his pocket, gave his body to the crowd as he surfed 50 meters, fans propping him up while trying to snap photos on their phones.

The summer festival, known in French as the Festival d’ete de Quebec, follows an unusual public model with low-price passes for a full 11 days of music, the sheer volume of selling some 100,000 tickets helping recoup costs.

Other headliners this year have included rock legend Neil Young, R&B sensation The Weeknd and post-grunge standard-bearers Foo Fighters.

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