Wednesday, June 30, 2010

K'Naan: Troubadour Champion Edition

Andy Gill reviews K'Naan's Troubadour Champion Edition
In Somalian, K'naan Warsame's name means "the traveller who carries the words of peace".
It is apt, then, that his "Wavin' Flag" – included in three mixes here – should have been chosen as the official anthem of the World Cup in South Africa. Especially since the pan-African mutuality of support in that tournament is strongly reflected in the opening track "T.I.A. (This Is Africa)", in which he offers to "take rappers on a field trip any day", betting that the hardships and gun crime they brag about are no match for what he had to face as a child growing up in Mogadishu, where several of his friends were killed in the civil war.
K'naan's homeland remains too dangerous for him to return – when he went back to Africa to film a video among fellow Somalis, it was with refugees in Kenya – and he has wandered as a troubadour should, living in Toronto, Washington, London and Switzerland and becoming proficient in English in order to secure the widest possible audience for his work.
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