She doesn’t know English but she totally nails this hit song.
Grab the tissues and get ready to feel so many things you didn’t think you could feel. This young Mexican girl might be blind and she might not know English, but she can sing like an angel. The proof is her beautiful, soulful take on Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You.” Seriously, this is beautiful. At first she seems shy and quiet, but then you get to that first big note and you’re left speechless. The description of the video says she only knows the song by sound and has no idea what she is saying. She may not know what she is saying or singing, but we definitely recognize the special gift this young girl has.
A Mexican artist and activist embarked on a project to gather as many firearms as he could from Culiacán, Mexico, the city with the highest death by gun violence rate in Mexico, and transform them into shovels that would instead plant trees. Artist Pedro Reyes, a Mexico City native, has long been using his art to illustrate how evil can be transformed into good, with the right perspective. While the United States has, by far, the highest number of firearms per capita (120.5 per 100 persons), Mexico ranks 60th in the world. Pedro Reyes wanted to do his part in getting the deadly weapons off the street.
Reyes set out in Culiacán, Mexico, to trade civilian’s weapons for coupons for electronics, and residents traded 1,527 weapons.
Pedro Reyes’s project, known as “Palas por Pistolas” publicized the gun exchange on television ads and through local media.
All of this was made possible by the botanical garden of Culiacán, which has been commissioning artists to perform social impact interventions for years. Reyes made a proposal to the garden to organize a city-wide campaign for a voluntary donation of weapons. The commission was able to pay for television advertisements and liaise with local media to promote the project. Soon, the whole city knew that residents were invited to give up their guns in exchange for a coupon. Those coupons were then traded at a local store in exchange for domestic appliances and electronics.
Of the 1,527 weapons collected, 40 percent were automatic weapons, “exclusively” used for the military.
The second phase of the project was put on public display. All 1,527 guns were taken to a military zone and were crushed by a steamroller in a public act. Then, the pieces were taken to a foundry and melted down to its original form. Once again, the same metal that was transformed into guns became a ‘blank page,’ available to transform into absolutely anything. Reyes worked with a major hardware factory to create molds that would create exactly 1,527 shovels.
Since they’ve been repurposed, 1,527 trees have been planted.
The shovels have been on display at a variety of art institutions. Admirers could read an inscription of the shovel’s origin story on the handle. Later, children and adults alike would feel the weight of what was once a gun in their hands as they dug up dirt to plant new life. Trees have been planted at the Vancouver Art Gallery, San Francisco Art Institute, Paris’s Maison Rouge, Lyon Biennial, Marfa, Texas, and Denver, Colorado.
“This ritual has a pedagogical purpose of showing how an agent of death can become an agent of life,” Reyes said of the project.
Like every other Reyes project to date, the gift is a change in perspective. For whoever might have been injured or died at the hands of those 1,527 guns, as many trees have been planted in their honor. Reyes breaks down the concept of a gun to what it is: human intention and scrap metal. With a simple shift in intention, that metal has created lasting memories for children and created oxygen-giving life on this planet.
Since “Palas por Pistolas,” Reyes has also installed “Imagine,” a similar concept that instead turns guns into musical instruments.
In April 2012, Reyes was given the opportunity to transform human intention once again. “I got a call from the government who had learned about Palas por Pistolas,” Reyes said. “They told me a public destruction of weapons was to take place in Ciudad Juarez and asked me if I was interested in keeping the metal, which would otherwise have been buried as usual. I accepted the material but I wanted to do something new this time. 6700 weapons, cut into parts and rendered useless, were given to me and I set out to make them into instruments.”
“A group of 6 musicians worked for 2 weeks shoulder-to-shoulder turning these agents of death into instruments of life.”
Reyes said it was far more challenging than simply turning the metal into shovels. The metal had to create sounds. “It’s difficult to explain but the transformation was more than physical,” Reyes writes. “It’s important to consider that many lives were taken with these weapons; as if a sort of exorcism was taking place the music expelled the demons they held, as well as being a requiem for lives lost.”
“Living in a community free of guns ought to be a human right. Many liberties that we enjoy today were considered utopian, and the first step taken into that direction was to Imagine.” Reyes continues to draw attention not only to where guns are used, but where they are made. It is an industry and one he continues to reclaim for life.
Shakira first gained fame in her native Colombia in the mid 1990s. And as a young millennial who grew up to her music, it’s hard to believe that the singer’s been such an iconic presence in Latinx music for almost three decades now. Shakira has built a name for herself as an entertainment powerhouse, this Latina has changed pop culture and reigns supreme as the hip-shaking queen. This year, she’s back from a vocal injury with a whole documentary —which will be premiering in theaters this month.
In November 2017, Shakira suffered a vocal cord hemorrhage.
After a vocal injury which forced the singer to postpone her first tour in seven years — and her first since becoming a mother to two sons— Shak is ready to bounce back with a documentary that brushes on her vocal-cord hemorrhage injury, but mainly follows her in her 2017 tour ‘El Dorado’.
El Dorado, in 2017, marked her first U.S. trek in seven years. The run, however, was delayed for several months until Shakira recovered from her injury.
We’ll get to see the Colombiana perform all of her classics.
The 30-second trailer for the documentary, opens with shots that capture Shakira’s difficult recovery. But the rest of the trailer is packed with shots teasing the singer’s iconic return as she dances across the stage, plays guitar, beats the drums and sings to her classics “Hips Don’t Lie” and “Whenever, Wherever.”
Shakira took control of 100% of what went down during her ‘El Dorado’ tour.
Much like Beyonce did in her Homecoming show and ‘documentary’, this Latina diva took absolute control of every aspect of her live show: from the lighting to the musical arrangements to the choreography. “I want to look sexy as hell, or I cancel this!” yells Shakira with zeal to her crew during rehearsal in a scene of the film —and we can relate on a deep spiritual level.
In contrast to Beyonce though, and other superstars of her level, on this tour Shakira had no backup dancers, “I wanted the freedom to improvise,” she says to the camera during the film. The set design was purposefully minimalistic —inspired, she says, by Anton Corbijn, one of her favorite visual artists, who has directed music videos for U2, Metallica, and Depeche Mode.
The documentary was co-directed by the singer and will feature a lot of clips from her 2018 show in LA.
Shakira co-directed Shakira in Concert with James Merryman, and much of the movie was filmed at the pop star’s August 2018 concert in Los Angeles. The film will also feature behind-the-scenes clips and narration from Shakira.
Latinx music fans will also get to see other singers who have collaborated with Shakira.
Fans of reggaeton are in for a treat! The documentary also features a few behind-the-scenes moments of Shakira in the studio with Maluma and Nicky Jam, writing and recording their songs ‘Perro Fiel’ and ‘Chantaje’ together. We’ll get to catch glimpses of her interacting with her family —aka her hottie of a husband, Gerrard Pique— and her band during rehearsals and between concerts. Viewers will even get to see her dancing and singing aboard her private plane, still brimming with adrenaline after performing the nightly two-hour-long show.
El Dorado won’t be available on streaming platforms just yet —the singer has something much bigger planned.
Unlike other pop-star documentaries, El Dorado won’t be immediately available on streaming services or DVD. Shakira wanted her fans to have a communal fan experience by screening it in theaters. Shakira in Concert: El Dorado World Tour will be shown in more than 2,000 theaters in more than 60 countries on the same day. Alongside the film, there will be a live album of the tour coming out this week as well.
Shakira dedicated ‘El Dorado’ to her fans.
The entire project, the film and album, is a gift to fans who have been with her through thick and thin and who, Shakira says, are the true protagonists of El Dorado. “When an artist decides to go on tour, in a way, he or she needs reaffirmation,” she said. “We need to confirm that there’s people out there loving us, worshipping what you do. . . . [There’s] a very narcissistic motivation behind all of that.” “When I came out on tour this time, there was none of that. I just wanted to do it for them, because they were there for me.”
Tickets for Shakira in concert are available on the film’s website. Shakira in Concert: El Dorado World Tour will premiere internationally on November 13th
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