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Shakira shrugs off ‘plagiarism’ claim in Madrid court evidence

A Cuban singer claims Shakira and Carlos Vives’ hit La Bicicleta was inspired by his work.

Colombian singers Shakira, left, and Carlos Vives (Bernat Armague/AP)
Colombian singers Shakira, left, and Carlos Vives (Bernat Armague/AP)

Colombian singers Shakira and Carlos Vives have appeared in a Madrid court to answer allegations by a Cuban-born singer and producer that they plagiarised his work in their award-winning hit La Bicicleta.

Shakira smiled as she entered the court in Madrid without answering reporters’ questions.

Shakira and Vives rejected the allegations by Livan Rafael Castellanos that La Bicicleta, which means The Bicycle in English, contains lyrics, rhythm and melody similar to those of his 1997 song, Yo Te Quiero Tanto.

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Shakira on stage (Ian West/PA)

Shakira, whose full name is Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoll, told the judge that Castellanos’ song “is nothing like … La Bicicleta, the melody is different, the music is different, the subject matter is different”, according to private Spanish news agency Europa Press.

“My (song) talks about my homeland, it’s a salute to my homeland — Barranquilla, Colombia — not Cuba,” Shakira said, according to Europa Press.

“It’s different.”

La Bicicleta won two of the three biggest Grammy Latino awards for 2016, including song and record of the year.

Vives told reporters he welcomed the chance to clear his name.

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Shakira shrugged off the claims (Ian West/PA)

Castellanos claimed that music experts supported his claim of plagiarism.

“Let’s see whether we can finally get to the bottom of this and justice can be done,” he said in a telephone interview.

Sony Music, which released La Bicicleta, made no immediate comment on the case.

The court is expected to deliver its verdict in 20 days.

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