Shakira Made ‘Dónde Están Los Ladrones?’ After Her Songs Were Stolen at an Airport
If you’ve ever put your heart and soul into singing every lyric of “Ciega, Sordomuda,” “Si Te Vas,” and “Inevitable,” then you know Shakira’s 1998 album “Dónde Están Los Ladrones?” is iconic.
Only Shakira could make everyone sing “Torpe, tonta, lenta, nécia, desquiciada” at the top of their lungs, and don’t even get us started on “Tú.” A genius since day one — and we still want that pink and purple hair:
Spotify just declared September 29 “Shakira Day,” which also coincides with the 25th anniversary of “Dónde Están Los Ladrones?” As the platform put it, “What better way to acknowledge Shakira’s enduring legacy than to dedicate an entire day to the global pop star?” Everyday is Shakira Day to us, but we’ll take it!
We’re looking back at the surprising history of “Dónde Están Los Ladrones?”, an album that was almost never created. In fact, thieves stole the singer’s luggage in the Bogotá airport sometime before recording in 1997.
As fate would have it, that stolen suitcase contained all of Shakira’s songs and demos— never to be seen again. At that point, the singer had to start her album from scratch, and the robbery “traumatized” her.
Now the album’s title makes a lot more sense.
An unearthed video shows Shakira speaking about the robbery: “I didn’t have copies”
A resurfaced MTV interview shows Shakira talking about thieves robbing her luggage, and with it, all her most treasured songwriting.
“What happened was that when I was in an airport, thieves robbed my suitcases,” she recalled. “My songs were in one of those suitcases.”
She added, “I didn’t have copies, I didn’t remember any of the songs. It was traumatic.”
“I was about to start my new album,” she remembered. “I had just gotten back from tour. And I had all my songs, without correcting them… the songs that day and night accompanied all of my emotions.”
In short, Shakira described the robbery as a horrible point in her life — and it had many repercussions.
“I was completely traumatized. I had the syndrome of someone who is robbed: depression, sadness, completely blocked.”
Crazily enough, she explained that the thieves “never appeared, nor the songs” — not even after offering a hefty reward on “all the news channels.” Where is that songbook? Who has it? We need answers!
As one X user questioned, “What happened to those songs in Shakira’s stolen suitcase?” Truly, though, who has them? This is our “Da Vinci Code.”
Shakira later described in an interview with author Ximena Diego for her book “Shakira: Woman Full of Grace” that she couldn’t even remember the thieves’ faces. “I couldn’t remember them because of the mental block that can be caused by such a traumatic experience.”
In fact, the book retells how Shakira couldn’t think of anything else but the thieves for several days.
Still, seeing “Dónde Están Los Ladrones?” was such a success story, this album’s history should serve as inspiration for all of us. One X user said that every time their “computer crashes” and they lose their work, they remember Shakira making her “best album” after the robbery. Shakira, the queen of taking lemons and making lemonade:
Even more, fans see the 1997 robbery as a blessing in disguise for Shakira. One wrote, it was the “one of the best strokes of luck in life”:
Shakira at the time, though? Well, before knowing she would go on to write hits like “Ojos Así,” she said she was ready to sell her car just to get her stolen songs back.
Really, though… where are the ladrones?
So, who are all those songs in the album about?
And now, a whole other part of the history of Shakira’s fourth studio album — who inspired her to write love ballads like “Moscas en la Casa”? And even more poignant, who was she thinking of when penning angry, rock-tinged tracks like “Si Te Vas,” which tells the story of her lover leaving her for another woman?
Well, the love songs in “Dónde Están Los Ladrones” may have been about Puerto Rican telenovela actor Osvaldo Ríos. In fact, according to author Ximena Diego, the two dated in 1996. At the time, Ríos was 36 years old, and Shakira was just 19 — meaning he was almost twice her age.
An even darker note to this story is that a jury found Ríos guilty in 2003 for beating former girlfriend Daisy Annette Santiago. Authorities charged Ríos under Puerto Rico’s domestic violence law, with his accuser saying “This has been a long struggle.” Shockingly, the abuse reportedly took place in 1996, the same year he may have dated Shakira.
An unearthed video of one of Shakira’s concerts shows her telling her audience that “Sombra de Ti” was born after heartbreak.
“This song was born at 4 AM in a recording studio with the lights off and a broken heart.”
Ríos spoke about his former relationship with Shakira on “La Casa De Los Famosos 2” last year. He stated, “Yes, we were a couple for almost a year.”
“It was beautiful. One of the most beautiful souls I have ever met in my life. A talent.”
“That was when she made the album ‘Donde Están Los Ladrones,'” he added. “I have a few songs there.” What.
“It was formal, going to see her mother, father, going to her house, accompanied by her brother,” Ríos explained. “We planned on marrying and everything, we even saw houses.”
“She had to fly, [the breakup] was the best thing that happened to her.” He also noted that while he wasn’t “faithful” in that time of his life, he was loyal to Shakira.
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