November 8, 2002

MACUILXOCHITL: “Five Flower”, The Aztec god of music and dance.

Music Reviews and Updates:

By Francisco H. Ciriza

Highly anticipated by her adoring fans, but maybe even more more importantly by those waiting to see how the young Colombiana continues her quest to conquer the U.S. and especially it’s English speaking inhabitants, Shakira unleashes her “Tour of the Mongoose” tonight (11/08/02) at the Sports Arena. Shakira has been on the forefront of the commercial crossover scene. Following the overnight success (and disappearance) of other Latino artists, Shakira has recorded an album in English and focused her camp’s efforts toward the English speaking market.

Many other Latino artists are sticking to their linguistic and cultural roots. Both Jaguares and Man of Mexico continue to record in Spanish while being a bit more creative in keeping their native tongue in order to express themselves. During Jaguares most recent San Diego appearance, lead singer, Saul Hernandez, assured the audience singing in English was not an option for the band, “’s something we will never do...” after which a responding roar from the crowd assured him in turn, there was nothing but agreement and support for this approach. Both groups do feature English translations in each of their latest releases and both have taken a much higher-profile stance in this country.

While Shakira has done much to make herself more visible in this country by efforts some Latinos find questionable in terms of personal and artistic integrity, she also remains as idealistic and outspoken as she has seemed to be from her modest beginnings. She has always based her career on her talent and passion as a singer/songwriter/performer and on her multi-ethnic background.

This tour continues that trend. Shakira has worked hard with her people to make this tour another spectacular entertainment experience. “Tour of the Mongoose” promises to be a fantastic rock stage show, and featuring Shakira and her band headed by long-time music director Timothy Mitchell) on stage surrounded by some of the best production in the business.

Some of the most creative names in concert touring have been recruited to help Shakira get her message out to her fans. The show is being produced by RZO Concert Productions which has been involved with such big tours with artists such as U2, David Bowie, and the Rolling Stones. The show is also being produced by the ever-present Clear Channel Entertainment and features the show directing debut of choreographer, Tina Landon, whose experience includes working with both Janet Jackson and Christina Aguilera.

While the show itself seems to have the potential to pack a powerful punch, her message also might be something to add to her posiitve characteristics as an artist in today’s world of pop culture. She uses images and concepts from her background and beliefs to express herself via some very simple, yet powerful and important messages. She’s well-known for giving her tours creative names, and this one follows suit. “The mongoose is the only animal that is immune to the venom of the cobra. To me, the cobra symbolizes all the hate, greet and negativity in the world. We should be more like the mongoose, and bite the head of the cobra,” she explained recently.

The tour is in support of Shakira’s most recent release, Laundry Service, which has gone triple platinum in the U.S., and has sold more than 10 million copies worldwide.

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