Colombian singer Shakira was decorated here Saturday as a Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters during one of the inaugural ceremonies of the 46th edition of the International Disc Market and Musical Publishing event, or Midem, in Cannes.
Accompanied by her parents who would not miss the occasion, the artist said she was “happy” to receive “one of the highest honors in arts and letters, since it comes from a country like France, which has such an important cultural heritage.”
“This moment that has made me feel the most honored in my career,” the singer of “La Tortura” (Torture) and “Suerte” (Luck) said in a statement to Efe.
French Culture Minister Frederic Mitterrand was on hand to give her the award. Amid cries of “Shakira, beloved!” he pinned the medal on her as a “symbol of culture at a planetary level,” and said that thanks to her “generosity and charm” she lets people share her “joy.”
Mitterrand compared Shakira to other Latin stars like Gloria Estefan and Jennifer Lopez, and, going even further, pointed up “her combination of voice, Latin style, determination and a passionate femininity.”
Shakira, “so honored by the award,” answered France’s gesture with a mention in French of the “special connection” she feels with this country, to the extent that her heart “is also French.”
Just one year ago in this same place, Shakira became, together with the Black Eyed Peas, the big winner of the NRJ musical awards, as voted by listeners of that popular French radio station, taking home the prizes for best international artist and best international song of 2010 for the World Cup theme “Waka Waka.”
Mitterrand, who inaugurated Midem 2012 Saturday morning, honored at the same ceremony his compatriot Patricia Kaas with the title of Official of the Order of Arts and Letters, as well as British musician Brian Ferry, who was not present to receive the honor.