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MUSIC

Shakira reveals losing voice was ‘darkest moment’ of her life

The Barcelona-based Colombian superstar Shakira says temporarily losing her voice two years ago was "the darkest moment" of her life, and which affected her "deeply".

Shakira reveals losing voice was 'darkest moment' of her life
Photos: AFP

In November 2017 the three-time Grammy winner was forced to postpone her hip-shaking “El Dorado World Tour” for seven months after suffering a hemorrhage on her right vocal cord.

“It affected me deeply, there is a before and after,” the 42-year-old said during an interview with AFP late on Monday in Barcelona, where she lives with Spanish footballer Gerard Pique and their two young sons.

“You take many things for granted when you have them… In the case of my voice, it is something that is so inherent in my nature, it is my identity,” she added in the interview at a Barcelona hotel.

“I always thought that one day I would lose many things, one day you lose your youth, you lose your beauty, you even lose friends, there are people who come and go… but I never thought my voice was something that could disappear.

'A miracle'

“When that doubt arose, when I did not know if I could sing again, it was the darkest moment of my life,” she added.

In what she describes as “a miracle”, Shakira recovered her voice naturally, without needing to undergo surgery as recommended by doctors and was finally able to carry out her tour in 2018.

A documentary about the tour, which encompassed over two decades of hits and was based on two shows she gave in Los Angeles, will open in around 60 countries from November 13th.

“It is one of the most important tours of my life for what it means, for the different obstacles that I had to overcome,” Shakira said.    

With her mix of Latin and Arabic rhythms and rock influence, Shakira is one of the biggest stars from Latin America, scoring major global hits with songs such as “Hips don't Lie” and “Whenever, Whenever”.

She was picked to perform alongside pop star Jennifer Lopez at the halftime show of the Super Bowl at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami on February 2, 2020 -which happens to be Shakira's birthday.

“We have a lot of ideas, it is hard to do them all in the short amount of time which we have. But we will try to take advantage of it as much as possible, especially the opportunity to represent Latinos,” Shakira said.

The National Football League's Super Bowl championship final is the biggest annual event on US television. The halftime show typically features some of the world's best-known performers. Last year's show drew 98.2 million viewers.

By AFP's Daniel Bosque

READ ALSO: Why Shakira's Spanish accent is making Colombians cringe

 

 

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MUSIC

Meet the Spanish rapper bringing flamenco and bossa nova into hip-hop

Spanish rapper C. Tangana was taking a big risk when he started mixing old-fashioned influences like flamenco and bossa nova into his hip-hop -- but it's this eclectic sound that has turned him into a phenomenon on both sides of the Atlantic.

Meet the Spanish rapper bringing flamenco and bossa nova into hip-hop
Spanish rapper Anton Alvarez known as 'C. Tangana' poses in Madrid on April 29, 2021. Photo: Javier Soriano/AFP

The 30-year-old has emerged as one of the world’s biggest Spanish-language stars since his third album “El Madrileno” — the Madrilenian — came out in February. That ranks him alongside his superstar ex-girlfriend Rosalia, the Grammy-winning Catalan singer with whom he has co-written several hits.

C. Tangana, whose real name is Anton Alvarez Alfaro, has come a long way since a decade ago when he became known as a voice of disillusioned Spanish youth in the wake of the financial crisis.These days his rap is infused with everything from reggaeton and rumba to deeply traditional styles from Spain and Latin America, with a voice often digitised by autotune.

“It’s incredible that just when my music is at its most popular is exactly when I’m doing something a bit more complex, more experimental and less
trendy,” he told AFP in an interview.

And he is unashamed to be appealing to a wider audience than previously: his dream is now to make music “that a young person can enjoy in a club or someone older can enjoy at home while cooking”.

‘People are tired’

The rapper, who sports a severe semi-shaved haircut and a pencil moustache, has worked with Spanish flamenco greats including Nino De Elche, Antonio Carmona, Kiko Veneno, La Hungara and the Gipsy Kings.

In April he brought some of them together for a performance on NPR’s popular “Tiny Desk Concert” series, which has already drawn nearly six million
views on YouTube.

Shifting away from trap, one of rap’s most popular sub-genres, and venturing into a more traditional repertoire was a dangerous move — especially for someone with a young fanbase to whom rumba, bossa nova and bolero sound old-fashioned.

“I think people are tired. They’ve had enough of the predominant aesthetic values that have previously defined pop and urban music,” he said.

Parts of his latest album were recorded in Latin America with Cuban guitarist Eliades Ochoa of Buena Vista Social Club, Uruguayan
singer-songwriter Jorge Drexler, Mexican folk artist Ed Maverick and Brazil’s Toquinho, one of the bossa nova greats.

“What struck me most everywhere I went was the sense of tradition and the way people experienced the most popular music, and I don’t mean pop,” he said.

A new direction

C. Tangana started out in 2006 rapping under the name Crema. When the global economic crisis swept Spain a few years later, hard-hitting trap was
the perfect way to voice the angst of his generation. But after more than a decade of rapping, things changed.

“When I was heading for my 30s, I hit this crisis, I was a bit fed up with what I was doing… and decided to give voice to all these influences that I
never dared express as a rapper,” he said.

The shift began in 2018 with “Un veneno” (“A poison”) which came out a year after his big hit “Mala mujer” (“Bad woman”).

And there was a return to the sounds of his childhood when he used to listen to Spanish folk songs at home, raised by a mother who worked in
education and a journalist father who liked to play the guitar. The Latin American influences came later.

“It started when I was a teenager with reggaeton and with bachata which were played in the first clubs I went to, which were mostly Latin,” he said.

Studying philosophy at the time, he wrote his first raps between stints working in call centres or fast-food restaurants.

As to what comes next, he doesn’t know. But one thing he hopes to do is collaborate with Natalia Lafourcade, a Mexican singer who dabbles in folk, rock and pop — another jack of all musical trades.

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