K’naan

K’naan (pronounced /ˈkeɪ.nɑːn/), born Keinan Abdi Warsame (Somali: Keynaan Cabdi Warsame, Arabic: قينان عبدي ورسمه‎ Keynān ‘Abdī Warsamah) in 1978, is a Somali-Canadianpoet, rapper, singer, songwriter, and instrumentalist.

Biography

Born in Somalia, K’naan spent his childhood in Mogadishu and lived there during the Somali Civil War, which began in 1991. His aunt, Magool, was one of Somalia’s most famous singers. K’naan’s grandfather, Haji Mohammad, was a poet. He is Muslim, and his name, Keinan, means “traveler” in the Somali language. He spent the early years of his life listening to the hip-hop records sent to him from America by his father, who had left Somalia earlier. When he was 13, K’naan, his mother, and his three siblings, older brother, Liban, and younger sisters Naciimo, and Sagal left their homeland and joined relatives in New York City, where they stayed briefly before moving to Canada, to the Toronto neighbourhood of Rexdale,where there was a large Somali community and his family still resides. There, K’naan began learning English, partly by listening to hip hop albums by artists like Nas and Rakim. Despite the fact that he could not yet speak the language, the young K’naan taught himself hip-hop and rap diction, copying the lyrics and style phonetically. He then also began rapping.

While growing up in Rexdale, K’naan spent time in prison and lost many friends to murder, suicide, prison, and deportation.

He is married to Deqa, a pharmacy technician. They have two sons, born in 2005 and 2007

Career

K’naan became a friend and associate of Canadian promoter Sol Guy, who helped him secure a speaking engagement before the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in 1999, where K’naan performed a spoken word piece criticizing the UN for its failed aid missions to Somalia. One of the audience members, Senegalese singer Youssou N’Dour, was so impressed by the young MC’s performance and courage that he invited him to contribute to his 2001 album Building Bridges, a project through which K’naan was able to tour the world.

This project led to his work at other UN events, as well as the Montreal Jazz Festival and the Halifax Pop Explosion. It also helped him meet Canadian producer Jarvis Church and his Track & Field team in 2002, who produced his debut album The Dusty Foot Philosopher, which was released in 2005 to critical acclaim. In 2006, it won the Juno Award for Rap Recording of the Year, and was nominated for the 2006 Polaris Music Prize. It also won the BBC Radio 3 Award for World Music in the newcomer category for 2007.The Dusty Foot Philosopher was re-released and re-packaged as a “Deluxe Edition” featuring new mixes and a bonus DVD in the United States (and various international territories) by the emerging media company and record label iM (Interdependent Media, Inc.) in 2008.

Since then, K’naan had been on tour promoting his album and working on his follow-up release, Troubadour, which he released in the summer of 2010. It was his debut album for new label, A&M/Octone Records. He has also collaborated with artists like Nelly Furtado, Mos Def, Will.i.am, The Roots, Dead Prez, and Pharoahe Monch on tours such as Live 8 and Breedlove Odyssey. He also collaborated with Damian Marley on the “Welcome to Jamrock” touring session.

K’naan released The Dusty Foot on the Road, a collection of recording made during his world tour on Wrasse Record.

K’naan rose to mainstream popularity by participating in the 2008 BET Awards Cypher. This was his first appearance on American television. His second studio album, Troubadour, was released on 24 February 2009 on A&M/Octone Records, and will be distributed through Universal Music Group worldwide. The album’s first single, “ABC’s”, was released to radio in late 2008. K’naan’s music has featured in several video games such as Madden NFL 09 (with his song “ABC’s”) and FIFA 06 (with his song “Soobax”). The song “If Rap Gets Jealous”, a re-recording of a track of the same name – with different verses – from The Dusty Foot Philosopher, features Metallica lead guitarist Kirk Hammett. K’naan was also the first featured artist on X3, a collaborative project between CBC Radio 3, Exclaim! magazine and aux.tv to promote new Canadian music.[19] In July 2010, he performed a cover of U2’s “Stuck in a Moment You Can’t Get Out Of” for iheartradio.

Style and influences

Jim Welte has said K’naan has “a sound that fuses Bob Marley, conscious American hip-hop, and brilliant protest poetry.” His voice and style have been compared to Eminem, but his subject matter is very different; according to K’naan, he makes “urgent music with a message”, talking about the situation in his homeland of Somalia and calling for an end to violence and bloodshed. He specifically tries to avoid gangsta rap clichés and posturing,[22] saying:

All Somalis know that gangsterism isn’t to brag about. The kids that I was growing up with [in Rexdale] would wear baggy [track] suit pants, and a little jacket from Zellers or something, and they’d walk into school, and all the cool kids would be like, ‘Ah, man, look at these Somalis. Yo, you’re a punk!’ And the other kid won’t say nothing, but that kid, probably, has killed fifteen people.

This statement was made to explain his position on the world of difference which exists between where he grew up, and the ghettos of the first world. Nonetheless, K’naan denies that he is overtly political, instead explaining that he “[shows] the state of the world [and] if you call it like it is you’re being political.” His own opinion of his music is that it’s a “mix of tradition andkind of articulation of my own life and my past experiences.”

K’naan has said that he is influenced by Somali music and the traditional instruments of Somalia. His 2009 album, Troubadour, also draws heavily from Ethiopian sources, particularly Ethio-Jazz by Alemayehu Eshete and Tilahun Gessesse. These influences can be heard in the Ethiopian jazz samples in his songs “America”, “Dreamer”, “Somalia”, “ABCs”, “Bang Bang” and “I Come Prepared”.

Live performances

Prior to the release of Troubadour, K’naan performed with a small acoustic band, consisting of Rayzak (back-up vocals), Kierscey Rand (acoustic guitar) and UDOGG-The Funky Drummer (djembe and drums).[28] This style was an essential element of what set K’naan apart from most hip-hop acts. More than that, it reflected K’naan’s value of meaningful lyrics over shallow theatrics. One of the last performances of this band was on 16 March 2009 when K’naan rendered four songs from the newly launched album for CBC’s program Q with Jian Ghomeshi, although Rayzak continued to join his subsequent shows and Kierscey Rand made occasional appearances, such as his World Cup Trophy Tour.

Since Troubadour, K’naan has toured almost exclusively with a larger electric ensemble – consisting of drums, bass, electric guitar, and keyboards [29] – and his performances now also feature elaborate lighting. This change in showmanship, along with his collaborations with such high profile artists as Adam Levine and Mos Def, has helped to shift K’naan more into the mainstream flow of the music industry and has helped him gain exposure to a wider audience.

No Show at Simon Fraser University

On 21 September 2010 K’naan was scheduled as the headlining act of a student organised concert for World Peace Day which was to benefit girls’ education in rural Ghana. At 11pm the singer cancelled, for reasons that have been reported as relating to finances.[35] His manager stated that, “this is the first time in K’naan’s seven-year career that he has pulled out of a performance for such a reason”.[36] K’naan announced on his twitter following the concert “amazing how human beings need a bogeyman. It’s even better when they can turn their heroes to foes. SFU, check your own back yard for faults.”

2010 FIFA World Cup tour

A remixed version of K’naan’s single “Wavin’ Flag” was chosen as Coca-Cola’s anthem for the 2010 FIFA World Cup also in the commercials in the pre-game, held in South Africa. In December 2009, K’naan performed the song live during the sponsor’s FIFA World Cup Trophy Tour, which took him to 86 countries around the world.

K’naan
كنعان

K’naan in 2010
Background information
Birth name Keinan Abdi Warsame
Born 1 February 1978 (1978-02-01) (age 33)
Mogadishu, Somalia
Origin Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Genres Hip hop, world music
Occupations Musician, poet, rapper, singer
Instruments Piano, guitar, percussion, vocals
Years active 2001–present
Labels A&M/Octone, BMG, Wrasse, Interdependent
Associated acts Chad Hugo, Mos Def, Talib Kweli, Damian Marley, Dead Prez, Kirk Hammet, Chubb Rock, Nas, Adam Levine, Nelly Furtado, Amadou & Mariam, Wale, will.i.am, David Guetta, David Bisbal, Nancy Ajram, Keane
Website knaanmusic.com
Comments
  1. Randy Adams says:

    Something’s naughty,i really found.

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