Image 1 of 10: Morocco on the Mideast leg of her World tour: headlining the Mawazine festival – she expressed a desire to sing Arabic, inspired by the Maghrabi air. She didn't escape criticism for playing at this 'King's festival', as locals are labeling the decadent costly affair, during times of Arab unrest.
Image 1 of 10: Shows off her Arabic roots: half Lebanese by paternity, Shakira whose Arabic name translates as 'thankful', admits that Arab music has a dear place in her heart and in her art. Not least in her sultry signature hip shakes: When it comes to ancestry, her “hips don’t lie”- they're Lebanese!
Image 1 of 10: Grew up on the Arab Greats, Om Kolthoum & Fairouz.. Decked out in oriental opulence, singing a popular Fairuz hit in Beirut- presumably learnt by rote, given her limited vocabulary that includes 'give me a kiss!' (ateeni boosa ). She plans to learn more so that she can fulfill her Arabic dream.
Image 1 of 10: Despite her pride in her Lebanese heritage this is the 1st performance in the 'fatherland', days before Morocco and after the UAE. Sometimes this more-Latina-than-Lebanese is claimed as Syrian - Syria and Lebanon have found something else to disagree over: maybe they can settle on Greater Syria.
Image 1 of 10: Proud Parents: this mixed parentage produced our popular musical prodigy. Mother, Columbian, and father, originally Lebanese, but daughter born and raised in South American life- definitely the dominant side to this Spanish-singing-Latina-loving world hit-wonder.
Image 1 of 10: When it comes to romance, she follows her Latina heart and sticks to Latin or Spanish: her latest lover is from mainland Spain, footballer Gerard Piqué. She's comfortable with all-things Spanish, not least her music. She started out singing in Spanish, now she smooches Spanish! or a Spaniard!
Image 1 of 10: Latin spirit, love and FC Barcelona revelry came together: Shakira invited the winning football Champion League team-mates in a celebratory dance, led by her and their defender Gerard Pique. Here on stage at her Barcelona concert.
Image 1 of 10: Real Madrid however were not so amused by her sleeping, nor dancing, with the enemy: They banned her music, pulling all of Shakira’s songs from their pre-game, half-time and post-game playlists, including football favorite, Waka Waka.
Image 1 of 10: While proving her success by her albums going platinum at home in Columbia and wider Latin America, as well as in the US, Shakira has not been without her share of controversy- the below album cover of Eve with the forbidden fruit, was banned particularly in Catholic countries.
Image 1 of 10: What does her Lebanese Dad think of his She-Wolf child? This particularly raunchy video, while it marked her agility and slick body, might come back to haunt her when she seeks to go 'Arabic' and get back to her oriental roots.
Shakira seeks to celebrate her 'Lebo-Syrian' roots - recently feeling inspired while performing in Morocco after her tour through the Emirates and Lebanon, Shakira expressed her keen desire to fast-track her Arabic learning in order to sing some Arabic singles, if not albums.
Half Lebanese by her mixed parentage, she has always claimed a Middle East as well as Latin influence to her music. Shakira often speaks of her Arabic ancestry with pride, revealing that she grew up listening to the Arab world’s classic divas of the 20th century, Egyptian Umm Kalthum and Lebanese Fairuz.
She is classed a Colombian singer, songwriter, musician, who emerged on the music scene of Colombia and Latin America in the early 1990s. Her name, translated from Arabic roughly alludes to 'thankfulness' or 'woman full of grace'. She spent her debut years in pop music singing in her Spanish native tongue, and continued in that strain, only later branching into bilingual albums and versions of Spanish songs in English. But she has made her mark in the Middle East by her association with her father's native Lebanon and her belly-dancing moves, assimilated into Western style dance. Even her hit Spanish language single, Ojas Asi, relies heavily on a Middle Eastern melody.
Shakira seduced by Arab Spring, goes back to Arab roots to sing
Nontheless, she is more at home in her Hispanic roots, more recently seeking solace in the arms of Spanish lover, Barca man Piqué. Even when she connects with the Middle East she has been criticised for the mingling of orient and western in her art form, of objectifying sexualization of a socially respected dance form in the Middle East. Not as though our regional artists Nancy Ajram and Haifa Wahbe aren't somehow guilty of the same thing, bringing more and more western elements into their pop videos.
While she is often accused of pandering to or embodying a modern sexualized Orientalist fantasy, her song She-Wolf was more Britney-Madonna, (hardly shying away from using sex to sell) than Fairuz or classical oriental beats. Arguably Arabs traditionally have used belly dance as a dance of seduction, and she is not the first or the last to exotify the belly dance. Belly dance for the West can be viewed as the original bachelor party entertainment piece.