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People Staff
April 20, 2007 AT 10:35 AM EDT

Singer Alejandro Sanz stood up in Mexico for Colombian performer Shakira, who has been criticized for singing in English by, among others, her fellow countryman Carlos Vives.

“I don’t think Shakira is forgetting her roots at all. On the contrary, she’s taking them, she’s showing them to other people who don’t speak our language,” Sanz told the EFE news agency.

Sanz countered statements given by Colombian singer Vives, 45, who asked Shakira to “delve into the Magdalena River, and not so much into the Mississippi,” alluding that she was forgetting her Latin American roots.

Sanz, a 38-year-old singer and songwriter who met with the Mexican press to announce he will go on tour throughout the Aztec nation, said that the #1 ranking achieved in U.S. English-language radio by “La Tortura,” which he sings with Shakira, 30, is something “that had never happened before.”

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