On Friday, Shakira performed a concert in Tannourine, the Lebanese village where her paternal grandmother was born. The blonde bombshell, who was born in Colombia to a Spanish mother and a Lebanese father, last performed in the Levant country in 2011. The concert was part of her El Dorado World Tour, which kicked off in June and will run until November. It also marked the beginning of Lebanon’s annual Cedars International Festival.
“Lubnan! It’s amazing to be in this magical setting, it’s surreal, thank you so much for having me tonight,” she said to a crowd of 13,000 people who erupted in jubilation after her opening songs. “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,” she added, according to The National.
The 41-year-old, who hasn’t visited her ancestral land in well over seven years, decided to make the most out of the trip by paying a visit to a cedar tree nature reserve to plant two saplings moments before she hit the stage. A patch of the reserve was also named Shakira Mubarak in honor of her Lebanese heritage.
The Grammy award-winning singer arrived in the Middle Eastern country on Thursday. She was accompanied by her two sons, 5-year-old Milan and Sasha, 3, with her soccer player partner Gerard Piqué. She shared an adorable video on her official Instagram page of Sasha exclaiming “Marhaba Lebanon” (which translates to “hello Lebanon” in Arabic) with her 49.9 million followers as the family’s plane touched down.
The half-Lebanese popstar has been quite vocal about embracing her Middle Eastern heritage, revealing that she grew up listening to the music of Umm Kalthum and Fairuz (her nickname was “little Fairuz” growing up due to her obsession with the Lebanese icon). Indeed, her Arab roots have heavily influenced her music career, especially her belly dancing skills, which she showcases in her music videos.