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Music at the Crossroads: Don't call it a crossover; Shakira is coming to Corpus Christi in October

JJ VELASQUEZ

By JJ VELASQUEZ
July 22, 2010 at 2:22 a.m.


It's hard to believe international superstar Shakira is only 33 years old.

It seems as if the Latin cosmopolite has been shaking her hips for centuries.

Shakira has been plying her trade as a "crossover artist" - for lack of a better term - for nearly a decade now.

Crossover can describe an American artist stepping into the pop sphere from a niche genre (ie: LeAnn Rimes, Selena). Or, as in Shakira's case, it can describe a foreign artist pervading the global pop scene, historically dominated by American performers.

So sometimes, in this case especially, the word crossover can be a little ethnocentric and downright demeaning. This makes Shakira sound like an immigrant of the music industry in search of the American Dream or something.

It's not like that. Shakira never needed to appeal to the U.S. market to gain fans here, and I'm not only referring to Latin American expatriates. Nor did she need to compose songs in English to gain worldwide acclaim.

Shakira was successful long before her crossover into the U.S. market, long before her collaborations with Timbaland and Wyclef Jean.

Did appeasing the Leviathan of a market that is the U.S. broaden the reach of her music? Yeah. Did it make her career? No.

Her worldwide hit "Waka Waka (This Time for Africa)" proves her ambassadorial role to the music world. The song's chorus is in a Central African language.

After all, it was chosen as the official song of the largest sporting event in the world, the 2010 FIFA World Cup, played on the soccer pitch. So save the "crossover" talk for the hardwood.

The belly-dancing Colombian pop star is set to shake her booty in a handful of South Texas locales this fall, including at the American Bank Center Arena in Corpus Christi on Oct. 5. Tickets for that concert have been on sale since June. Prices range from $16 to $162 at www.ticketmaster.com.

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