In Depth

World Cup anthems: Shakira vs Pitbull and J-Lo in Brazil row

It's Ole Ola vs Waka Waka and La La La as Fifa anthem gets Brazilians hot under the collar

Shakira, rattle and roll

Colombian songbird Shakira will top the bill at the World Cup closing ceremony, singing 'La la la (Brazil 2014)' along with Brazilian star Carlinhos Brown. It will be Shakira's third World Cup appearance although this one has been marred by the fact her fella, Barcelona defender Gerard Pique, had an early exit when Spain failed to make it out of the group stage. Also booked to perform at the Closing Ceremony on Sunday week at Rio's Maracana stadium are guitar great Carlos Santana and rapper Wyclef Jean.

Shakira vs Pitbull and J-Lo

If there is one thing that gets Brazilian pulses racing as much as football it is music, and the official World Cup anthem, performed by rapper Pitbull and Jennifer Lopez, is doing just that – but for all the wrong reasons.

The Fifa-sanctioned song, entitled We Are One (Ole Ola), has not gone down well in Brazil, and the main beneficiary appears to be Colombian songstress Shakira, whose songs are now being championed as alternative theme tunes by South American music lovers.

And a tongue-twisting three-way battle between Fifa's Ole Ola, and two Shakira numbers, La La La and Waka Waka, has erupted.

"Although Brazilian Claudia Leitte is also featured in the official theme, critics say they don't understand why Cuban-American rapper Pitbull and Bronx-born Puerto Rican singer Jennifer Lopez were chosen for the song when there are so many other great musicians in the land of Bossa Nova," explains Associated Press. To make matters worse the video not only features famous Brazilian landmarks and footballers, but  "reinforces stereotypes with smiling, barefoot children and semi-naked, samba-dancing women".

It is also sung in English and Spanish, notes the Sydney Morning Herald, leaving "only a few seconds at the end for Brazilian singer Claudia Leitte to sing in her native Portuguese".

Brazilian composer and music critic Leonardo Martinelli told AP that the latest World Cup anthem, like its predecessors, had been "stripped of local colour".

"Whether it's in South Africa, Germany or Japan-Korea, the regional musical element was used only as a very light seasoning... [with the] right amount of cliches and stereotypes usual with commercial music," he said.

The result has been a campaign to adopt Shakira's 2010 popular World Cup anthem, Waka Waka, as the unofficial tournament anthem. The campaign has garnered plenty of support on Twitter, even though the song has many of the same shortcomings as Ole Ola. Supporters have overlooked that Waka Waka, designed to celebrate South Africa, had a soca beat and was sung in English by a Colombian, although it does feature an African guitar sound.

A third contender has also emerged in the form of another Shakira song, La La La, which has been released with a football-themed video featuring the likes of Shakira's partner, Barcelona defender Gerard Pique and several of his club colleagues, including Lionel Messi. The proceeds of that song are going to the World Food Programme. In the five days since its release it has had as many YouTube hits as the official anthem has managed in almost two weeks.

VIDEOS

Pitbull ft. Jennifer Lopez & Claudia Leitte: We Are One (Ole Ola)

Shakira: Waka Waka (This Time for Africa)

Shakira: La La La (Brazil 2014) ft. Carlinhos Brown

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