Shakira sings at “magical” cedars of Lebanon, land of her ancestors

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Colombian singer Shakira visits Tannourine Cedars Reserve, in Tannourine, Lebanon on Friday. (REUTERS)
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Colombian singer Shakira visits Tannourine Cedars Reserve, in Tannourine, Lebanon on Friday. (REUTERS)
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Colombian singer Shakira performs in the opening of the Cedars International Festival In Bcharre, Lebanon on Friday. (REUTERS)
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Colombian singer Shakira reacts during her visit to Tannourine Cedars Reserve, in Tannourine, Lebanon on Friday. (REUTERS)
Updated 14 July 2018
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Shakira sings at “magical” cedars of Lebanon, land of her ancestors

  • Shakira, who was born in Columbia to a Lebanese father and Columbian mother, first performed in Lebanon in 2011
  • Shakira planted a cedar tree at a nearby nature reserve

BCHARRE, Lebanon: Shakira performed at the ancient cedars of Lebanon on Friday in a mountaintop concert in the land of her ancestors.
The Colombian singer-songwriter delighted a crowd of thousands gathered under the stars near the “Forest of the Cedars of God” in northern Lebanon, where she said she was proud to be singing in the land of her grandparents.
“Lubnaaan! It’s amazing to be in this magical setting, it’s surreal, thank you so much for having me tonight,” she said after her opening songs, using the Arabic word for Lebanon.
“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,” said Shakira, 41, to cheers from the crowd.
Shakira, who was born in Columbia to a Lebanese father and Columbian mother, first performed in Lebanon in 2011.
Earlier in the day, she planted a cedar tree at a nearby nature reserve. The Forest of the Cedars of God and nearby Qadish valley are on UNESCO’s World Heritage List.
Shakira performed songs from her 11th album, El Dorado, which was released last year as well as classic hits such as ‘Estoy Aqui’ and ‘Whenever, Wherever’. She also belly danced.
Part of a world tour, the Shakira concert marked the start of the Cedars International Festival, one of a number of music festivals hosted by Lebanon each summer.


Pressures and pains that tear a couple apart

A still from the film.
Updated 19 July 2018
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Pressures and pains that tear a couple apart

DENVER: Like a gallery wall-sized enlargement of a microscopic image, “Scenes from a Marriage” is all about size, space and perspective.
Directed by Ingmar Bergman — whose birth centenary was marked this week — at 281 minutes long, its unwieldly length presents an intimidating canvas, yet the claustrophobic intimacy of its gaze is unprecedented: The two leads are alone in nearly every scene, many of which play out for more than a half-hour at a time.
Premiered in 1973, the work is technically a TV mini-series, but such is its legend that theaters continue to program its nearly five-hour arc in its entirety. A three-hour cinematic edit was prepared for US theater consumption a year later (it won the Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film, but was ruled ineligible for the corresponding Oscar).
Not a lot a happens but, then again, everything does. Shot over four months on a shoestring budget, its six chapters punctuate the period of a decade. The audience are voyeurs, dropped amid the precious and pivotal moments which may not make up a life, but come to define it.
We meet the affluent Swedish couple Marianne and Johan — played by regular screen collaborators Liv Ullmann and Erland Josephson, both of whom clocked at least 10 Bergman credits — gloating about ten years’ happy marriage to a visiting reporter. This opening magazine photoshoot is the only time we see their two children on camera, and inevitably the image projected is as glossy, reflective and disposable as the paper it will be printed on.
The pressures, pains and communication breakdowns which tear this unsuited pair apart are sadly familiar. The series was blamed for a spike in European divorce rates. It may be difficult to survive the piece liking either lead, but impossible not to emerge sharing deep pathos with them both. Sadly, much of the script is said to be drawn from Bergman’s real-life off-screen relationship with Ullmann.
It’s a hideously humane, surgical close-up likely to leave even the happiest couple groping into the ether on their way out of the cinema.