Shakira and Amr Diab in UAE

Double platinum: Two huge stars to perform at Abu Dhabi

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Shakira

She’s big, she’s blonde, and she’s back! Shakira’s hips – and indeed the rest of her – will move our hearts, minds and the Yas Arena in Abu Dhabi on April 29. Following the massive success of her 2010 European tour, the Colombian superstar has extended the Sun Comes Out tour into 2011, and on to the shores of Abu Dhabi. We’re very grateful; whether she’ll sing ‘Waka Waka’ is unknown, but football fans are optimistic.

Grammy winner Shakira has sold about 50 million albums, and has four of the 20 top-selling hits of the decade, including 2006’s eye-popping, heart-melting ‘Hips Don’t Lie’, the biggest-selling single of the 21st century, which reached the number one spot in 55 countries. Shakira followed that up with worldwide football sensation ‘Waka Waka’, a revival of 1986 Cameroonian Zangalewa that the Colombian diva sang for the World Cup. It sold more than two million copies – making it the biggest World Cup song ever released – and scored more than 200 million YouTube hits, making it the fourth most watched video of all time (Justin Bieber being top). Including unofficial ‘Waka Waka’ videos, the total cumulative views is more than 400 million. ‘When I flew to South Africa, I never received so many hugs and kisses,’ she says. ‘In the airport, all the immigration officers were dancing the “Waka Waka” dance!’

How have you prepared for the Sun Comes Out tour?

I spent months preparing for this tour. It was a huge effort and a very intense time. I’m involved in all aspects of the production: beginning with the song arrangements, choreography, lighting design, camera takes, etc. I even participate in the smallest details like wardrobe accessories. For me these are not mutually exclusive facets; the tour is a synthesis of all these crucial parts that come together to form the show that the fans are seeing now. They say I’m a perfectionist, but I interpret it another way: more than a perfectionist I see myself as a devoted worker, passionate about what I do. I give everything I have, down to the last drop. And I think it’s all worth it!

What makes this tour different?
I’m learning so much from the audience. The most important thing is that they leave the show happy, and I feel that the energy I transmit to them comes back to me twofold. In this concert, the audience is the true protagonist. There’s a lot of interaction. It’s a concept designed for both sides to get to know one another a little more. And by the end of the show I feel as if the bond I had before has somehow strengthened. They know me more and I end up knowing my audience better. It’s a big party among friends in the end – a great celebration in an intimate atmosphere.

The lowdown
Age: 34
Google search results (in English): 137,000,000
Albums released: Seven
Most popular song: ‘Hips Don’t Lie’
Most memorable lyric: ‘Oh baby when you talk like that, you make a woman go mad’
Most frequently exposed body part: Midriff
Relationship status: Dating Spanish footballer
Gerard Piqué Nationality: Colombian
Height: A teeny 5’1”
Hips: 37 inches

Amr Diab

In true Abu Dhabi fashion, one superstar just isn’t enough; this is why the Platinum Colombian singer will share her evening with the best-selling Arab singer of all time, Egyptian legend Amr Diab.

The man really is a legend: his global sales have already beaten the 50 million mark, and the singer/songwriter has won the World Music Award for Best Selling Middle Eastern Artist four times, in 1998, 2002, 2007 and 2009. He followed those up in 2010 with two African music awards, Best Male Act of Africa and Best North African Artist, during the African Music Award Festival in London.

Shatha Al Romaithi, of Flash Entertainment, says, ‘Amr Diab is an incredible example of a hugely talented artist who has consistently put out music that inspires and entertains, and that has stood the test of time. We wanted to bring Amr Diab and Shakira together to give Abu Dhabians a night they’ll remember – imagine, two superstars of that calibre, both on the same night. The artists are thrilled to be working with each other.’

And if you’re not a fan of Arabic music, we guarantee you’ve still heard ‘Habibi’ from Diab’s 1996 album, Nour El Ain; one of the most remixed Arabic songs of all time.

Amr Diab
Age: 49
Google search results (in English): 5,300,000
Albums released: 11
Most popular song: ‘Habibi’
Most memorable lyric: ‘My darling, light of my eyes, she is my fantasy’
Most frequently exposed body part: Chest
Relationship status: Married to Zina Ashour
Nationality: Egyptian
Height: 5’10”
Hips: Uhhhh… does anyone really want to know?

Amr Diab play Yas Island Abu Dhabi on April 29. Tickets from Dhs250. VIP tables of 10 are Dhs10,000. Weekend hotel packages range from a daily Dhs450 for a three-star stay up to Dhs750 for a five-star hotel. The Yas Hotel’s offer of Dhs750 per room per night includes access to Rush or Skylite as well as a pair of fan pit tickets. Hotel bookings are done through individual hotels. www.timeouttickets.com

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