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Shakira


Country of origin:

Colombia

Type of music generally:

Latin pop-rock

Status:

Most recent release, Shakira (2014)

See also:

Shakira's official site

Comparisons:

Alanis Morissette

Covers/own material:

Own, mostly co-written

General comments:

I have been unsubscribed for a couple of months now due to a holiday trip to Chile and Argentina and a lack of free time, but I had to get back to let you know about an amazing artist named Shakira.
     She's from Colombia, of Arabic origin, and is all the rage in South America. I first discovered her on Amazon, while I was searching for music by Mana (an excellent Mexican rock band). I listened to a couple of her songs and then decided to try her album ¿Dónde están los ladrones?. At first she sounded too much like Alanis Morissette and for a couple of months I dismissed her as a clone. However, during my recent trip I learned all about her from my niece and realized just how immensely popular she is there. Seeing a few clips of her MTV unplugged convinced me about how good she is. Her song 'Ojos así' is simply a brilliant amalgam of cultures.
     She has three albums out: Pies Descalzos (I recently got this and don't have an opinion), ¿Dónde están los ladrones? (excellent), MTV Unplugged (songs are mostly from ¿Dónde están los ladrones?...but rearranged and turned into something unique). (kyrlidis@earthlink.net)

*Definitely* worth a listen. I've been a huge fan for about a year or so now. The first song I heard of hers was "Te Espero Sentada" from Pies Descalzos. I enjoy both Pies Descalzos and ¿Dónde están los ladrones? but listen to the latter far more often. It was in my player for a couple of months straight. I also have the Remix album when I was on a "buy anything Shakira kick," but am not fond of remixes so never listen to it.
     I think she's brilliant—and for those who don't speak Spanish, she provides the lyrics. Albeit, she doesn't give translations, but gives you a leg-up on figuring the songs out. ;-)
     Favorite songs: "Inevitable", "Octavo Dia", "Ojos Asi", "Te Espero Sentada".
     Enjoy! :-) (ho@his.com

I knew nothing about Shakira until she started the cross-over but I think she looks AMAZING and watching her perform is nearly a religious experience haha. I have laundry service and am blown away, I can't wait until she masters English enough to become a kick-ass songwriter like she is in Spanish. Her song "inevitable" in Spanish is amazing!!!!!! That's all for now I find her incredibly talented and not to mention mesmerizingly beautiful. I've never been a fan of "Latin music" per se but I've been listening to her English cd non-stop and love the rock influence in her music. Her voice just grabs me. (RocketsTail@aol.com)

Recommended first album:

Pies Descalzos or ¿Dónde están los ladrones?

Recordings:


Pies Descalzos

Release info:

1996—SONY—CD-81795/2-473320

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Shakira Mebarak—vocals

Guest artists:

Alejandro "Pancho" Gómez—harmonica
Luis Fernando Ochoa—programming, electric and acoustic guitars, harmonica, percussion, bass, keyboards, Hammond B3, background vocals
Nacho Pilonieta—bass
Samuel Torres—percussion
Camilo Montilla—piano
Eusebio Valderrama—trumpet
Howard Glassfor—rasta vox, skank guitar
Gonzo Vásquez—additional programming, shaker, drum kit, tambourine, timbal (kettledrum), background vocals
Andrea Piñeros, José Gaviria—background vocals

Produced by:

Luis Fernando Ochoa; Shakira Mebarak co-producer

Comments:

Similar in style to ¿Dónde están los ladrones?, with upbeat songs and ballads, but perhaps a bit quieter, more laidback. They're both excellent albums, good starting places, and if you like one you'll like the other. (JoAnn Whetsell)

¿Dónde están los ladrones?

Release info:

1998—Sony Latin—LAK-82746/2-485719

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Shakira Mebarak—vocals, background vocals, harmonica

Guest artists:

Lester Méndez—keyboards, programming, piano, string arrangements, Jupiter 8
Luis Fernando Ochoa—guitars, bass, tambourine
Julio Hernández—bass, fretless bass
Marcelo Acevedo—acoustic guitars
Claudio Spiewak—guitars, acoustic guitars
Adam Zimmon—electric guitar, guitars
Teddy Mulet—trumpet
Ron Taylor—Hammond B-3
Brendan Buckley—drum kit, percussion
Randy Barlow—accordion
Edwin Bonilla—percussion
Chris Glansdorp—cello
John Falcone—bass
Dan Warner, A.J. Niilo—acoustic guitars
Alan Kendal—pedal steel
Lee Levin—drum kit
Javier Garza, Pablo Flórez—programming on "Ojos Así"
Joe Zaytoonian, Michelle Massad—oud
Miriam Elli—percussion
Jack Stamates—violin
Fadi Hardan—accordion, background vocals
Tommy Anthony, Nicolás Tovar, Rita Quintero, Wendy Pedersen, Nicole Yarling, Raúl Midon, Nicholas W. Farhoury, Oussamah Karaki—background vocals

Produced by:

Executive Producer: Emilio Estefan, Jr.; Artistic Production by Shakira Mebarak R.

Comments:

I love this album so much I find it hard to say anything constructively critical about it. It should be a must-try for all fans of rock/pop music. Overall it's a really upbeat album, one that lifts my spirits and energy level and gets me dancing. The music isn't terribly different from the songs on Pies Descalzos, but somehow it feels like a stronger album to me. And it doesn't matter anyway, since they're both so good. There are upbeat dance songs, aching love ballads, even a smattering of politics. Don't mistake Shakira for your average puff singer or this album for mere candy; there's real substance here in her lyrics and depth in her songwriting, and that makes it all the more fun to dance to. (JoAnn Whetsell)

MTV Unplugged

Release info:

2000—Sony Music Entertainment (Colombia) S.A./MTV Networks Latin America, Inc.—EK91326

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Shakira Mebarak R.—vocals, background vocals, harmonica, guitar on "Inevitable," musical arrangements

Guest artists:

Tim Mitchell—6- and 12-string guitars, mandolin, e-bow, musical arrangements
Luis Fernando Ochoa—6-string guitar, zilts, musical arrangements
George Noriega—guitar, background vocals
Ben Peeler—lap steel guitars, dobro, mandolin, bazouki
Albert Menendez—piano, B-3 organ, Wurlitzer, accordion, clave (harpsichord)
Ricardo Suarez—bass and contra bass
Brendan Buckley—drum kit, percussion
Ebenezer De Silva, Myriam Eli—percussion
Pedro Alfonzo—violin
Rita Quintero, Donna Allen—background vocals

Produced by:

Shakira Mebarak R. and Tim Mitchell; Emilio Estefan, Jr.: executive producer; Sean Murphy: producer of MTV Unplugged; Gayle de Poli—executive producer of MTV Unplugged

Comments:

If you like ¿Dónde están los ladrones?, this album is definitely worth getting, even though all but 1 of the 11 songs are from ¿Dónde están los ladrones?. The acoustic arrangements bring out the instrumentation much more than on the cd. Shakira's voice is strong, and the music is energetic. And quite a few songs are markedly different from their original versions, namely "Ciega, Sordumuda" which gets a mariachi treatment, "Estoy Aquí" and "No Creo" which gets a Caribbean flavor. (JoAnn Whetsell)

Laundry Service

Release info:

2001—Sony Music Entertainment—EK63900

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

For fans

Group members:

Shakira—vocals, background vocals, harmonica, arrangements

Guest artists:

Lester Mendez—keyboards, hammond organ, arrangements, horn arrangements
Jorge Calandrelli—piano and arrangement for intro to "Objection (Tango)"
Brian Ray—guitars, electric guitars
Tim Pierce—guitars, electric guitars, acoustic guitars
Paul Bushnell—bass, bass guitar
Pablo Aslan—acoustic bass
Abraham Laboriel, Jr.—drums
Brendan Buckley—drums, percussion, keyboards, electric guitars, arrangements on "Fool," background vocals
Hector Del Curto, David Alsina—bandoneon
Richard Bravo, Archie Peña, Miriam Eli, Emilio Estefan, Jr., Edwin Bonilla—percussion
Camilo Valencia—horn charts and direction
Tony Concepcion—trumpet, flugelhorn
Jim Hacker—trumpet, piccolo trumpet
Ed Calle—baritone and tenor sax
Joe Barati—bass trombone, tuba
Dana Teboe—trombone, bass trombone
Tim Mitchell—guitars, mandolin, arrangements, programming
George Noriega—acoustic guitar, background vocals, arrangements, programming
Julio Hernandez—bass
Luis F. Ochoa—guitars, keyboards, bass, arrangements
Adam Zimmon—guitars Joe Zaytoonian, Michele Massad—oud Gustavo Patiño—charango, quena flute, rondador
Fadi Jardan—accordion, background vocals on "Eyes Like Yours (Ojos Así)"
David Campbell—string arrangements and conducting
Joel Derouin—concert master on "The One"
Suzie Katayama—cello, contractor on "The One"
Joel Derouin, Becky Bunnell, Eve Butler, Mario De Leon, Peter Kent, Arman Garabedian, John Wittenberg, Ken Yerke—violin on "The One"
Larry Corbett, Dan Smith, Rudy Stein—cello on "The One"
Steve Churchyard—string engineering on "The One" Jack Stamates—violin on "Eyes Like Yours (Ojos Así)"
Javier Garza, Pablo Flores—arrangements, programming on "Eyes Like Yours (Ojos Así)"
Rita Quintero, Nicolas W. Farhoury, Oussama Karaki, Tommy Anthony—background vocals

Produced by:

Shakira; songs co-produced by Lester Mendez, Tim Mitchell, Brendan Buckley, George Noriega, Luis F. Ochoa, Javier Garza, Pablo Flores (Executive Producer: Emilio Estefan, Jr)

Comments:

I was ready for Laundry Service to be disastrous. I was curious many months back when I heard she was working on an English language album. I was excited when I first heard she had a new album, weirded out when I saw the cover. I can understand the urge to do the cross-over thing, whether that came from her, the record company, or both. But Shakira was a great singer and songwriter in Spanish and a beautiful woman as a brunette. I readily admit being annoyed seeing her dye her hair blond and vamp around like Britney Spears. (No, I am not against people changing their hair color, though I do think people generally look better with their natural color). Of course, now she is getting attention, mentions in mainstream magazines, and late-night appearances on the talk shows and Saturday Night Live. I personally would prefer to see her be a really good but less well-known Spanish language singer than a popular and famous but mediocre English language singer.
     Surprisingly, it's a decent album. "Tango" is catchy and still employs that blend of rock, Latin, and Middle Eastern sounds she has, and the traditional instruments are used on the song. There's some fun stuff on here, including the English language version of "Ojos Así" and the first single, "Whenever, Wherever," which is made interesting through the use of native Colombian instrumentation. I think the Spanish songs are generally better than the English ones (3 are originals, 2 are Spanish language versions of the first 2 singles). And while I admire her learning English and writing and producing the album herself, I think she should have used a co-lyricist. Gloria Estefan did a great job with the translation of "Ojos Así". Some of the lyrics on the English language songs are really bad, but the music is upbeat. There's nothing really awful on Laundry Service, but there's nothing as good as the music on Pies Descalzos or ¿Dónde están los ladrones?. (JoAnn Whetsell)

Fijación Oral, Vol. 1

Release info:

2005—Epic Records—EN 94585

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Shakira—vocals and chorus, vocal arrangements, rhythm arrangements

Guest artists:

Alejandro Sanz—vocals (3, 12)
Gustavo Cerati—programming, guitars, keyboards, vocal chorus arrangements (5, 7)
Pete Davis—programming (1, 2, 3, 7, 8, 10), keyboards (11), Francesca trumpet (8)
Lester Mendez—programming (2, 4, 7, 8, 10), keyboards (2–4, 6–11), rhythm arrangements
Jose "Gocho" Torres, Gian Arias, Juan Santana—programming (3, 12)
Felipe Alvarez—programming (1, 8)
Lyle Workman—guitars (2, 3, 5, 6, 8–10)
Luis F. Ochoa—guitars (1, 3, 8), keyboards (1, 8)
Tony Reyes—guitars (6, 7), keyboards (6)
Rene Toledo—acoustic guitar (3, 7)
Ramon Stagnaro—guitars (4)
Shawn Pelton—drums (2, 5, 6, 9, 10), percussion (9)
Victor Indrizzo—drums (1, 11)
Jonathan Mover—drums (7)
Paul Bushnell—bass (1–3, 5, 6, 8–10)
Chris Chaney—bass (7)
Dave Carpenter—bass (4)
Teddy Mulet—trumpet (9)
Archie Pena—percussion (3)
Luis Conte—percussion (4)
David Alsina—bandoneon (9)
Umberto Judex—accordion (3)
Frank Morrocco—accordion (3)
Jorge Calandrelli—conducting, string and brass arrangements, rhythm arrangements
Bruce Dukow—concertino
Los Angeles Strings—strings
Steve Kajula, Gary Foster, Dave Shostac—flutes
Warren Luening—flugelhorn
Charley Loper, Bob McChensay—trombones
Rita Quintero—vocal chorus arrangements

Produced by:

Shakira, Lester Mendez (2–4, 6–11), Luis F. Ochoa (1, 8), Gustavo Cerati (5, 7)

Comments:

Please note that this is a copy-protected disc.

Shakira is back with an album that makes Laundry Service pale in comparison. Although the English language is gone (it will return in Oral Fixation, Vol. 2), American music influences are still present and mixed with reggae (or is it calypso?) and some 60s/70s influences. There seems to be more attention to the background atmosphere of the songs than on her past albums; one song sounds like it could be on the soundtrack to a Doris Day movie (I still like it). In short, it's a strong and varied album with ballads and dance tracks that are enjoyable to listen to and stand up well to repeated listens. Even the 2 alternative versions at the end are good. (For just a little more money, the DVD version includes English translations of the lyrics and a cute "making of" video.) (JoAnn Whetsell)


Oral Fixation, Vol. 2

Release info:

2005—Epic Records—82796 97708 2

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Recommended for fans

Group members:

Shakira—vocals, percussion (5), horn arrangements (5–7)

Guest artists:

Shawn Pelton—drums (1, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9)
Matt Chamberlain—drums (1, 2)
Emmanuel Cauvet—drums (2)
Victor Indrizzo—drums (10)
Paul Bushnell—bass guitar (3, 4, 6, 7, 9, 10)
Chris Chaney—bass guitar (1, 2, 8, 11)
Lester Mendez—keyboards (1, 2, 3, 6, 8, 9, 11), programming (1, 2, 8, 11)
Leandro Fresco—keyboards (1, 2)
Luis F. Ochoa—keyboards (5), guitar (5, 10), programming (5, 10)
Albert Menendez—keyboards (6)
Tim Mitchell—keyboards (7), guitar (7, 8), programming (7)
Lyle Workman—guitar (1–4, 6–9, 11)
Gustavo Cerati—guitar (1, 2, 4), keyboards, background vocals (4), programming (1, 2, 4)
Dave Levita—guitar (2)
Carlos Santana—guitar (3)
Rene Toledo—guitar (5)
Tony Reyes—guitar (11)
Luis Conte—percussion (3)
Archi Pena—percussion (5)
Brendan Buckley—percussion (5)
Mario Inchausti—background vocals (11)
Teddy Mulet—horns (5, 7)
Pete Davis—horns (6), keyboards (10, 11), programming (1, 2, 5, 6, 8, 10, 11)
Felipe Alvarez—programming (5, 10)
Jim Bean—programming (5)
Mike Weiss—Hebrew chants
Fadi Hardon—Arabic chants
Seraphic Fire—choir (1)
Church of the Epiphany Chamber Choir—choir (11)
Patrick Dupré Quigley—choir direction (1, 11)
London Pro-Arte Orchestra—strings (8)
Pedro Alfonso—strings (8, 9)
David Sinclair Whitaker—string arrangements and conducting
Colin Sheen—concert master

Produced by:

Shakira; Co-producers: Lester Mendez, Luis F. Ochoa, Gustavo Cerati, Tim Mitchell

Comments:

Please note that this is a copy-protected disc.

Shakira's second album of 2005 is not as good as its Spanish language counterpart, but it's much better than her English language debut, Laundry Service. Two of the songs are repeats from Vol. 1; the rest are all new. And while most of them are about different aspects of love and relationships, she addresses the mainstream's waning attention to people living through crises on the closing track, "Timor," and tackles religion on the opening track, "How Do You Do," a risky song that begins and ends with the intonations of a choir. In between is a lot of catchy pop-rock, albeit with better beats and melodies than lyrics. (JoAnn Whetsell)


She Wolf

Release info:

2009—Epic

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended for pop/dance music fans

Group members:

Shakira—vocals, background vocals, vocal and background vocal arrangements, string and percussion arrangements (4)

Guest artists:

Wyclef Jean—background vocals (8)
Olgui Chirino—background vocals (6–9), background vocal arrangements (6–9)
Jon Secada—vocal arrangements (2, 5)
Mario Inchausti—background vocal arrangements (1)
Hossam Ramzy—string and percussion arrangements (4)
Walter Murphy—string and horn arrangements (8)
Lawson White—additional string arrangements (1, 8)
Miami Symphonic Strings—additional string arrangements (4)

Produced by:

Shakira (album); Shakira (1–10), The Neptunes (2–5), John Hill (1, 6, 9, 10; additional production on tracks 3–5 and 8), Amanda Ghost, Lukas Burton, and Future Cut (7), Wyclef Jean and Jerry Duplessis (8)

Comments:

The lyrics aren't great (okay, often insipid) and the wolf call on the title track is alternately hilarious and absurd, but the beats are infectious and I love the inflections of music from around the world. The album makes me shake my booty, and that's always a good thing. (JoAnn Whetsell)

Sale El Sol

Release info:

2010—Epic—8869 777433 2

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Recommended

Group members:

Shakira—vocals; background vocals (1–15); vocal arrangements (1–15); background vocal arrangements (1–15)

Guest artists include:

Nejo (2)
Dalmata (2)
El Cata (2, 8)
Residente Calle 13 (4)
Dizzee Rascal (13)
Pitbull (14)
Sam Endicott
Olgui Chirino—background vocals (2, 5, 7, 12, 13, 15); background vocal arrangements (1–3, 5, 7, 8, 10–15)
Nonhlanhla Kheswa—background vocals (2, 5, 12, 13, 15)
Lindiwe Dlamini—background vocals (2, 5, 12, 13, 15)
Brenda Mhlongo—background vocals (2, 5, 13)
Thomas Dyani—background vocals (2, 13)
James McGorman—background vocals (2, 13)
Jonathan Shakhovskoy—vocal arrangements (2, 8, 13, 14)
Luis Fernando Ochoa—additional arrangement (4)

Album Produced by:

Shakira

Individual Tracks Produced by:

Shakira (1, 3, 4, 9, 10, 12, 15); Luis Fernando Ochoa (1, 2, 5, 8, 13, 14); El Cata (2, 5, 8, 13, 14); Josh Abraham and Oligee (2, 8, 13, 14); Gucci Vump (aka Brodinski & The Shoes) (2, 13); Lester Méndez (3, 6); Calle 13 (4); Diplo (4); John Hill (4, 5, 9, 11, 12, 15); Albert Menéndez (7); Jim Jonsin (8, 14); Lukas Burton (10); Gustavo Cerati (11); Jonathan Shakhovskoy (13)

Comments:

An album that doesn't really know what it wants to be, the alt-rock of ¿Dónde están los ladrones? or the fun globe-trotting club-pop of more recent years. (JoAnn Whetsell)

En vivo desde París/Live From Paris

Release info:

2012—Sony—8869 798030 2

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Medium

Group members:

Shakira

Guest artists:

Tim Mitchell—guitar
Brendan Buckley—drums
Albert Menéndez—keys
Grecco Buratto—guitar
Olgui Chirino—vocals
Thomas Akuru 'Dyani'—percussion
Una Palliser—violin
Eric Holden—bass guitar

Produced by:

Emer Patten

Comments:

This is a fun album for fans. There are times when the sound balance seems to favor the fans over Shakira, making it not so great a recording as other live records I've heard. But it seems like the concert was a lot of fun (the DVD especially highlights this), and I think that's the overall goal. (JoAnn Whetsell)

Shakira

Release info:

2014—RCA—88843-04166-2

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Low

Group members:

Shakira—vocals, cajones, string arrangement (2, 7, 9, 10), percussion arrangement (4), horn arrangement (6)

Guest artists:

John Hill—bass, guitar, drums, programming, keyboards (1, 11)
Kid Harpoon—guitar, drums, keyboards (1, 11)
Victor Indrizzo—drums (1, 3, 11)
David Levita—guitar (1)
Rihanna—vocals (2)
Paul Gendler—guitars (2)
Ina Wroldsen—background vocals (2)
Steve Mac—string arrangement (2)>BR> The Hossam Ramzy String Orchestra—strings (2)
Adam Messinger—instrumentation, programming on track 3 (all) and on track 5 except where otherwise noted; guitars, programming (7)
Nasri—instrumentation, programming (3); background vocals (3, 5, 7)
Alejandro Serrano—trumpet (3); flugelhorn (6)
Chantal Kreviazuk—background vocals (3)
J2, Dr. Luke, Cirkut & Billboard—all instruments & programming on track 4 except where otherwise noted
Dr. Luke—guitars (4)
Dave Clauss—guitars (4, 12); additional programming (4, 7)
Carlinhos Brown—percussion arrangement (4)
Magici—vocals (5) Mark Pellizzer—guitar (5)
Ben Spivak—bass (5)
Alex Tanas—drums (5)
David Levita—guitars (6, 11); acoustic guitar (8); electric guitar (10)
busbee—bass (6, 8); programming (6, 10); acoustic guitar (10); string arrangement (10)
Milan—backing vocals (6)
Steve Lu—string arrangement (7, 9, 10)
Blake Shelton—vocals (8)
Derek Well—acoustic guitar, mandolin, banjo, electric guitar (8)
Aaron Sterling—drums (8)
Greg Kurstin (the bird and the bee)—bass, drums, guitar, keyboards, programming (9)
Lester Mendez—additional programming (12)
Luis Fernando Ochoa—guitars, bass (12)
Pablo Uribe Trujillo—guitars, mandolin (12)
Anye Bao—drums (12)
Federico Lorusso—piano (12)
Mateo Camargo—keyboards (12)
David Cardenas Vasquez—keyboards (12)

Album produced by:

Shakira; Individual tracks produced by Shakira, John Hill, Kid Harpoon, Steve Mac, Adam Messinger, Nasri, Dr. Luke, J2, Cirkut, Billboard, busbee, Greg Kurstin, Luis Fernando Ochoa

Comments:

No spark throughout most of the album. The exception is the lovely "Empire" which for some reason reminds me of Seal? odd. (Andrew, mixplusik@gmail.com)

A cool pop album but, sadly, not much more. Rating: 52/100. Best tracks: "Chasing Shadows," "Broken Record," "Empire." (raschee@gmail.com)

Not terrible, but not terribly interesting either. "Empire" is by far the best song here, although I really (surprisingly) like the Blake Shelton duet "Medicine" as well. Good for Shakira for trying some different things though (country, ska, and reggae influences, and do I hear thumb piano?), but I actually think the second half of the album ("23," "The One Thing") is better even though the songs are more straightforward pop/rock. (JoAnn Whetsell)


Further info:

Shakira's songs appear on the compilations Top Latino 2000, 1-2-3- Let's Dance, 2000 Latin Grammy Nominees, volumes 1 and 2 of Latin Mix USA, Soundtrack for a Century, 1999 Billboard Latin Music Awards, Esta Noche Fiesta Remixes, and Freestyle Frenzy Vol. 1. She has also released 2 live DVDs: MTv Unplugged and Live & Off the Record.

Shakira also started the Fundación Pies Descalzos (Bare Feet Foundation) to help children in her native Colombia displaced by war or violence; see http://www.fundacionpiesdescalzos.com/english/index.php.


Thanks to JoAnn Whetsell for work on this entry.

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DISCLAIMER: Comments and reviews in the Ectophiles' Guide are excerpted from the ecto mailing list or volunteered by members of the list. They are the opinions of music enthusiasts, not professional music critics.

Entry last updated 2015-09-22 21:21:25.
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