CAIRO: “We love you, Ricky! screamed the Egyptian audience as the Latin star made his way offstage after a two-hour over-the-top performance on Monday night. The concert at Media City was a great success; Ricky Martin really knows how to put on a show.
Egypt is one of his stops on his global tour entitled, “Life, the name of his new album, where he shares his life and emotions through music. He started in Mexico in October and has been halfway around the world, flying in from Beirut on Sunday.
The musician, famous for his allure, is even more attractive in person, and TV and posters just don’t do him justice. He is sporting a new look: a shark-fin haircut with a goatee and mustache.
“The concert will be theater-inspired, says Martin earlier, and it certainly was. After every other song he changed his outfit, going for an entirely new theme in line with the bigger concept of global fusion.
Since Martin began his career in Broadway, playing a part in Les Misérables for 25 weeks, he is not shy of theatrics.
Martin is full of energy and lights up the stage with his presence. Whether he is Latino dancing, doing a ’40s jazz motif or boxer-sizing in sweatpants, he has the audience mesmerized by his every move, drawing attention to how fit the 34-year-old is.
“It will be like a carnival in Cairo, he says before the concert excitedly.
In addition to his personal talents, the stage was accessorized fabulously with both male and female dancers and musicians in sexy attire, adding some spice to the already saucy show. The lighting was bright and expressive, transforming the stage from hot red and sexy to a soft white dream.
While the star went backstage often to change his clothes, the screens provided entertainment for the brief interludes. Manga (Japanese animation) cartoons and dancing geishas were among the enjoyable entertainment on display, adding even more color to the show.
“I want to express myself not only through music but also through visuals, explains Martin.
The Grand Hyatt Hotel was the sponsoring hotel for the event, where Martin and his entourage took 40 rooms. The hotel arranged for a limo to pick me up, bringing me to a pre-concert cocktail in the piano bar with a gorgeous view of Cairo.
With all of this fame, most people expect Martin to posses an arrogant attitude; quite the contrary, actually, as Martin is more down-to-earth, gracious and humble than most non-celebrities.
“I aim to live life to the fullest and be thankful… And create a better place for the children in need, he says.
Indeed, he has accomplished much in terms of helping children, creating a foundation in 2004 aiming to do just that. The Ricky Martin Foundation (RMF) was formed to combat human trafficking, with special emphasis on child exploitation.
RMF is a respected voice that has created a high level of awareness of a crime to which 1.2 million children worldwide have fallen victim. They have created many counter projects geared toward the elimination of sex trafficking, debt bondage, forced labor and sex slavery. Many are partnered with large organizations such as the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO); Inter American Development Bank and the Human Health Services Division.
It is Martin’s second time in Egypt, and he says he really loves it. “Maybe in another life I was Egyptian. that’s the only explanation I can give, “he says.
An Arabian tune and an Arab female vocalist evident on his latest album reflect his interest in different cultures in general and the Middle East specifically.
“I have always been seduced by Arabic music; Middle Eastern sounds are very passionate, he says.
He also adds that established British rock star Sting, who played by the Pyramids in the ’90s, is his maestro; and has done great work with mixing musical cultures in a way that he admires.
He also plays with Asian, Latin and rock as well as Arabic themes in the latest album.
“In respect to the culture, I do it the way I see it, as humble as I can, says Martin.