Shakira Adds Dose of Klezmer to New CD

By Nathan Burstein

Published December 02, 2009, issue of December 11, 2009.
  • Print
  • Share Share

South America’s biggest pop star is a fan of klezmer, if her latest CD is any indication.

Colombian singer Shakira, who has topped charts with her Spanish and English lyrics, samples the Jewish musical genre on her new album, “She Wolf,” which debuted at 15 on the Billboard album chart dated December 12 .

The 16-track CD — heavy on electro pop and dance music — dabbles in the sounds of the shtetl on “Long Time,” a seduction number that features a distinctive klezmer solo on clarinet.

Co-written by Pharrell Williams, a producer of past hits by Jay-Z, Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake, the track also features characteristically clunky lyrics by Shakira, a native Spanish speaker who has both charmed and annoyed critics with her occasionally choppy writing in English. “How can you do me so much good/I’m so happy I should get sued,” the song declares before the klezmer solo kicks in.

Of Lebanese-Christian descent on her father’s side, the 32-year-old singer was educated by nuns before achieving fame with songs and dance steps partly influenced by the Middle East. Known for belly dancing both onstage and in her music videos, the singer shared her signature moves with Beyonce in the 2007 hit “Beautiful Liar,” which reached the top 10 in dozens of countries. Her new CD has received mostly positive reviews, with Rolling Stone magazine praising the album as enjoyably “kooky” and “ridiculously catchy.”

Perhaps because of her background, in 2002 the singer became the victim of rumors that she had made anti-Israel statements to MTV. The network later rejected the allegations — as did the singer, in an interview with the Israeli youth magazine Ma’ariv L’Noar.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Lusia Horowitz left pre-state Israel to fight fascism in Spain — and wound up being captured by the Nazis and sent to die at Auschwitz. Share her remarkable story — told in her letters.
  • Vered Guttman doesn't usually get nervous about cooking for 20 people, even for Passover. But last night was a bit different. She was cooking for the Obamas at the White House Seder.
  • A grumpy Jewish grandfather is wary of his granddaughter's celebrating Easter with the in-laws. But the Seesaw says it might just make her appreciate Judaism more. What do you think?
  • “Twist and Shout.” “Under the Boardwalk.” “Brown-Eyed Girl.” What do these great songs have in common? A forgotten Jewish songwriter. We tracked him down.
  • What can we learn from tragedies like the rampage in suburban Kansas City? For one thing, we must keep our eyes on the real threats that we as Jews face.
  • When is a legume not necessarily a legume? Philologos has the answer.
  • "Sometime in my childhood, I realized that the Exodus wasn’t as remote or as faceless as I thought it was, because I knew a former slave. His name was Hersh Nemes, and he was my grandfather." Share this moving Passover essay!
  • Getting ready for Seder? Chag Sameach! http://jd.fo/q3LO2
  • "We are not so far removed from the tragedies of the past, and as Jews sit down to the Seder meal, this event is a teachable moment of how the hatred of Jews-as-Other is still alive and well. It is not realistic to be complacent."
  • Aperitif Cocktail, Tequila Shot, Tom Collins or Vodka Soda — Which son do you relate to?
  • Elvis craved bacon on tour. Michael Jackson craved matzo ball soup. We've got the recipe.
  • This is the face of hatred.
  • What could be wrong with a bunch of guys kicking back with a steak and a couple of beers and talking about the Seder? Try everything. #ManSeder
  • BREAKING: Smirking killer singled out Jews for death in suburban Kansas City rampage. 3 die in bloody rampage at JCC and retirement home.
  • Real exodus? For Mimi Minsky, it's screaming kids and demanding hubby on way down to Miami, not matzo in the desert.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.