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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 14 November 2018

'I'm so proud of my heritage, so proud of you': Shakira tells crowd as she performs in ancestral home of Lebanon

The singer visited her paternal grandmother's village and planted cedar saplings at a nature reserve, before opening the Cedars International Festival

Shakira performed by 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 Shakira visited the village in Lebanon where her paternal grandmother was born. "Hello Tannourine, thank you, I am happy to be here!", the 41-year-old singer said in Arabic during a visit under high security to the village of Tannourine in Lebanon's mountainous north.

After her visit to Tannourine, she planted two cedar saplings at a nearby nature reserve. The Forest of the Cedars of God and nearby Qadish valley are on UNESCO’s World Heritage List.

To mark the occasion, a small patch of the reserve was named "Shakira Mubarak" - after one of the singer's family names, Tannourine's mayor Bahaa Harb said.

This is Shakira's third visit to the country. Her first visit came in 2003 and she returned in 2011 for a concert.

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