Shakira gives Venezuela's Chavez signed, red guitar

Mon May 16, 2011 1:47am EDT
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CARACAS (Reuters Life!) - Colombian pop star Shakira has given Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez an autographed electric guitar that is painted red, the color of the leader's socialist political movement.

The Grammy award winner and songwriter sent him the instrument after visiting the South American country in March, Chavez said on Sunday and thanked her for the gift.

"I was practicing last night, looking for the plugs. It's electric, a very modern guitar and I'm not used to it," Chavez said during a phone call to a state TV station. "I was singing some songs, old ones, a Mexican one."

Known for his informal style, Chavez often belts out Latin American folk songs during political rallies and speeches.

"How am I going to practice 'Waka-Waka' with this swollen foot?" Chavez asked when an official suggested he sing Shakira's hit song written for last year's World Cup. He ended the call singing a bolero, a slow Latin American song.

Chavez is currently recovering from a knee injury and canceled visits to several countries this week. He said the injury was improving.

(Reporting by Frank Jack Daniel; Editing by Eric Beech)

<p>Colombian pop star Shakira performs during heavy rain for her concert, as part of "The Sun Comes Out World Tour", in Bucharest May 7, 2011. REUTERS/Bogdan Cristel</p>