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K'naan by David Shankbone.jpg
K'naan in 2010
Background information
Birth name Keinan Abdi Warsame
Born 1 February 1978 (age 39)
Origin Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Genres Alternative hip hopworldalternative rockreggae fusion
Occupation(s) instrumentalist, rapper, singer, poet
Instruments vocals, piano, guitar, percussion
Years active 2000–present
Labels A&M/Octone
Associated acts Rayzak, Kierscey Rand, Adam LevineDavid GuettaNelly FurtadoNasWill I AmChubb Rock
Website knaanmusic.com

Keinan Abdi Warsame[1] better known by his stage name K'naan (/ˈknɑːn/[2]), is a Somali Canadian poet, rapper, singer, songwriter, and instrumentalist. He rose to prominence with the success of his single "Wavin' Flag", which was chosen as Coca-Cola's promotional anthem for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Besides hip-hop, K'naan's sound is influenced by elements of Somali musicEthio-jazz and world music. He is also involved in various philanthropic initiatives.



Personal life[edit]

K'naan was born in 1978 in Mogadishu, situated in the southeastern Banaadir province of Somalia.[3] K'naan's family was from an artistic background. His grandfather was a famous poet, and his aunt Magool was a renowned singer.[4] His name, Keynaan (/ˈknɑːn/), means "traveller" in the Afro-Asiatic Somali language.[4]

K'naan spent his childhood in the national capital, Mogadishu.[5] His father, Abdi, had left earlier when he was still a boy to work as a taxi driver in New York City.[6] K'naan's early years were idyllic and enveloped in poetry and song, with his aunt Magool often singing to him.[4] This changed following the start of the civil war, when at the age of 12, three of his friends were shot by an older adolescent gunman.[6][7] K'naan also narrowly escaped death one day at his school, when he mistook a grenade that he had found in the dirt for a potato and threw it away just before it detonated. These incidents and the general escalation in violence prompted his mother to seek a visa so that the family could rejoin his father in New York. At the age of 13, K'naan and his mother and two siblings, older brother Liban and younger sister Sagal, subsequently moved to the United States. They stayed in New York for half a year before relocating to Toronto, Ontario, Canada, where K'naan's dad had settled.[6] His family still resides there.[8]

In his new environment, 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, he taught himself hip-hop and rap diction, copying the lyrics and style phonetically.[9] He then also began rapping.[10] While growing up in the Rexdaleneighborhood, K'naan lost many friends to murder, suicide, prison and deportation.[11]

K'naan was briefly married to Deqa, a pharmacy technician, with whom he has two sons, born in 2005 and 2007.[6][12] They divorced before he started touring for the 2010 FIFA World Cup with Coca-Cola.[13]

In 2005, K'naan said that he is Muslim.[14]


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 peacekeeping missions to Somalia.[15] 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 Brian West and 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.[16][17] The Dusty Foot Philosopher was re-released and repackaged 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.

K'naan toured and collaborated with artists like Nelly FurtadoMos Defwill.i.amThe RootsDead Prez, and Pharoahe Monch on tours such as Live 8[18] and Breedlove Odyssey.[8] He also collaborated with Damian Marley on the "Welcome to Jamrock" touring session.[19]

K'naan released The Dusty Foot on the Road, a collection of recordings made during his world tour on Wrasse Records.[20]

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 distributed through Universal Music Group worldwide. The album's first single, "ABC's", was released 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 3Exclaim! magazine and aux.tv to promote new Canadian music.[21] In July 2010, he performed a cover of U2's "Stuck in a Moment You Can't Get Out Of" for iheartradio.[22] On 24 January 2012, K'naan released a 5-song EP under the title More Beautiful Than Silence including songs such as "Nothing to Lose", "Better", "Is Anybody Out There?". The songs also include collaborations with Nas and Nelly Furtado.

K'naan's 2012 album, Country, God or the Girl, was met with little of the critical acclaim and success that Troubadour had received. Unlike Troubadour, which was produced almost entirely by production team Track and Field, Country, God or the Girl featured a wide range of different producers, many of whom work on more mainstream projects. After the release of the album, K'naan published an article in the New York Times explaining and apologizing for the change in his sound. "My lyrics should change, my label's executives said; radio programmers avoid subjects too far from fun and self-absorption," recounts K'naan. "So I began to say yes. Yes to trying out songs with A-list producers. Yes to moving production from Kingston to Los Angeles." In the end, K'naan states "I had not made my Marley or my Dylan, or even my K'naan; I had made an album in which a few genuine songs are all but drowned out by the loud siren of ambition. Fatima had become Mary, and Mohamed, Adam."[23]

In 2012, K'naan published a children's book, When I Get Older: The Story Behind Wavin' Flag.[24]

Style and influences[edit]

Jim Welte has said K'naan has "a sound that fuses Bob Marley, conscious American hip-hop, and brilliant protest poetry."[10] His voice and style has been compared to Eminem,[9] 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.[25] He specifically tries to avoid gangsta rap clichés and posturing,[26] 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.[15]

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.[27] 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."[28] His own opinion of his music is that it's a "mix of tradition and [a] kind of articulation of my own life and [..] my past experiences."[28]

K'naan has said that he is influenced by Somali music and the traditional instruments of Somalia.[29] His 2009 album, Troubadour, also draws heavily from Ethiopian sources, particularly Ethio-Jazz by Alemayehu Eshete and Tilahun Gessesse.[30][31]

Notable live performances[edit]

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).[32] 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[33] – 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.

2010 FIFA World Cup tour[edit]

A remixed version of K'naan's single, "Wavin' Flag," was chosen as Coca-Cola's anthem for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. It was also used in the commercials for the pre-game, which was held in South Africa.[34] Additionally, the track is in the soundtrack for the official EA Sports 2010 FIFA World Cup video game. 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.[35] His performance of "Wavin' Flag" was featured in the Top 10 hits in 11 different countries across the world. This also included number one hits in Mexico, Austria, China, Germany, Luxembourg and Switzerland. In order to appeal to different people around the world, K'naan also recorded the song with various local artists such as David Bisbal, Jacky Cheung, Jane Zhang, Nancy Ajram and Tattoo Colour.

No Show at Simon Fraser University[edit]

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.[36] 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".[37] 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."[38]

Coke's 125th Anniversary[edit]

On 8 May 2011, K'naan performed live at Atlanta's Centennial Olympic Park for Coca Cola's employees in light of Coke's 125th anniversary.

"Decade of Difference" Clinton Concert[edit]

On 15 October 2011 at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles, K'naan was one of eight performers at the "Decade of Difference" concert. The concert celebrated former US President Bill Clinton's 65th birthday and the 10-year anniversary of the Clinton Foundation. K'naan was the third performer of the evening, following sets by Stevie Wonder and Kenny Chesney and preceding sets by JuanesUsherLady Gaga, and The Edge and Bono of U2.[39] K'naan performed three songs – "Bulletproof Pride," "America," and "Wavin' Flag." Toward the end of "Bulletproof Pride," K'naan surprised the audience by bringing Bono onstage for a duet. K'naan also spoke about his childhood in Somalia and how President Clinton's efforts overseas positively impacted his youth.[40]

Musical feud[edit]

In 2005, the Canadian music scene featured a low-key feud between K'naan and Yonis k-os, one of the most prominent Canadian hip-hop artists. Following the release of the music video for the song Soobax, which was shot by K'naan and a film crew in Kenya, k-os released a track B-Boy Stance attacking K'naan: "They took cameras to Africa for pictures to rhyme / Over; Oh, yes, the great pretenders [...] Religious entertainers who want to be life savers." Though the feud never became high-profile, with K'naan expressing confusion at the attack and respect for k-os, he nonetheless responded with the mixtape Revolutionary Avocado which argued "You the all-knowing with a beer bottle / Wishing you was Plato and me Aristotle? / ...Suburban negro turned hip-hop hero / Is there a reason he really hates me, though?" – a rebuttal CBC's Matthew McKinnon called "cold-cocking the champ".[9]


  • In 2008, K'naan collaborated with the Malian duo Amadou & Mariam on the song "Africa" from their album Welcome to Mali.
  • In 2009, he collaborated with British rock band Keane on two songs from their EP Night Train including the single "Stop for a Minute", and "Looking Back".
  • In 2009, he also collaborated with American rapper Wale on the song "Um'Ricka" from the mixtape Back to the Feature, and on the song "TV in the Radio" from Wale's debut album Attention Deficit.
  • In September 2009, K'naan teamed up with J.Period, an L.A.-born DJ/producer, and released The Messengers, a three volume remix project. Each volume pays tribute to one music icon: Fela Kuti, Bob Marley and Bob Dylan. It was released and is hosted online for free at Jperiod.com/knaan.
  • K'naan also toured with Jason Mraz during the summer of 2009 for Mraz's Gratitude Cafe Tour. He is currently on tour with Lenny Kravitz on the LLR tour.
  • In 2010, during the Vancouver Olympics, 50 other Canadian musicians and artists came together with K'naan under the collaboration name of Young Artists for Haiti at the Bryan Adams Vancouver studios to produce a charity version of his song "Wavin' Flag". The music video was released 1 March 2010. String students from Lord Byng Secondary and Magee Secondary joined together momentarily and formed an orchestra which accompanied the song.[41] It was released for digital download on 12 March 2010.[42]
  • In 2010, K'naan featured on the first unofficial single, "Mask on My Face", from Chin Injeti's album, D'tach.
  • In 2010, a remixed bilingual English/Spanish version of "Wavin' Flag" was made under the title "Wavin' Flag (Coca Cola Spanish Celebration Mix)" with Spanish pop artist David Bisbal after the song was chosen as the Coca-Cola anthem for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, to be held in South Africa. K'naan sings the English lyrics and Bisbal the Spanish lyrics. He also featured Banky W. and M.I in the Nigerian version of the song "Wavin' Flag", Nancy Ajram for the Arabic version of the song, féfé for the French version, Skank for the Brazilian version & will.i.am and David Guetta for the English version of the song. He also featured Ai (singer) in the Japanese version of the song under the title "Wavin' Flag (Coca Cola Japanese Celebration Mix)". He also featured Jacky Cheung and Jane Zhang in the Chinese version of the song, entitled "旗開得勝".
  • In 2010, he collaborated with Damian Marley and Nas on the album Distant Relatives, appearing on the songs "Tribes at War" and "Africa Must Wake Up". He also helped come up with the "sound" of certain songs such as As We Enter. The album was released on 18 May 2010.
  • In 2010, K'naan's song "Wavin' Flag" is featured in the documentary Bouncing Cats by the filmmaker Nabil Elderkin, starring Crazy Legs.[43] The singer also appears in an interview.[44]
  • In 2011, K'naan is featured as a guest singer on Simple Plan album Get Your Heart On! on a track called "Summer Paradise".
  • In 2011, he is featured with KRS-One on the soundtrack to the film Beat the World on a track called "Hip Hop Nation", produced by Frank Fitzpatrick.
  • In 2012, K'naan released a single titled "Nothing to Lose" featuring Nas
  • K'naan also released "Bang, Bang" featuring Adam Levine from Maroon 5 on his album Troubadour.
  • In 2017, K'naan performed in a music video titled "Immigrants (We Get The Job Done)" with ResidenteRiz MC and Snow Tha Product. The song is part of Lin-Manuel Miranda's The Hamilton Mixtape.[45][46]


In addition to his artistic career, K'naan has been involved with various philanthropic initiatives. In 2011, he became a co-spokesman with Bono to raise awareness of that year's drought in Eastern Africa. Also teaming up with close associate Sol Guy, K'naan performed various concerts for the cause.[47][48][49]

Additionally, K'naan was also active in promoting the Canadian Bill C-393 to help increase medical assistance to countries in Africa.[50] He teamed up with James Orbinski,[51] a Canadian humanitarian physician and co-founder of Dignitas International.[52]

Awards and nominations[edit]


Studio albums
Extended plays
Live albums


See also[edit]



  1. Jump up^ (SomaliKeynaan Cabdi WarsameArabicكَينَان عَبدِ وَرسَمَ‎ Kaynān ʿAbdi Warsama), "Contents" (PDF). Retrieved 2011-02-21.
  2. Jump up^ Carter Flinn, Sue (13 October 2005). "War & Beats: Somali-born hip-hop artist K'naan wants his music to have purpose"The Coast. Retrieved 4 May 2008.
  3. Jump up^ "Beautiful Dreamer". Thestranger.com. Retrieved 2011-02-21.
  4. Jump up to:a b c Cowie. F, Del."The Beautiful Struggle"Exclaim!, February 2009.
  5. Jump up^ Blair, Elizabeth (6 January 2009). "Somali Rapper K'Naan Schools American MCs". NPR. Retrieved 2011-02-21.
  6. Jump up to:a b c d Hannon, Gerald (December 2008). "The Prince of Little Mogadishu"Toronto Life. Archived from the original on 2 February 2009. Retrieved 16 November 2010.
  7. Jump up^ Kristof, Nicholas (24 September 2011). "A Son Returns to the Agony of Somalia"The New York Times. Retrieved 22 May 2014.
  8. Jump up to:a b Egere-Cooper, Matilda (30 May 2006). "K'Naan: Rapping about War". London: The Independent. Retrieved 14 May 2007.
  9. Jump up to:a b c McKinnon, Matthew (30 June 2005). "Kicking Up Dust". CBC. Retrieved 26 June 2007.
  10. Jump up to:a b Jim, Welte (7 August 2006). "MP3.com Live: K'Naan breaks out"Mp3.comCNET.com. Archived from the original on 29 September 2007. Retrieved 10 June2010With a sound that fuses Bob Marley, conscious American hip-hop, and brilliant protest poetry, the Somalian MC was the most promising artist at the 2006 Reggae on the River festival.
  11. Jump up^ "Soccer and song: K'naan's passport to global exposure"CBC News. 8 April 2010. Retrieved 31 July 2010.
  12. Jump up^ Infantry, Ashante (15 February 2009). "Success lies close to home for K'Naan"The Star. Toronto.
  13. Jump up^ Tetzeli, Rick (1 November 2010). "Portrait of the Rapper as a Young Marketer: How K'naan Delivered on Coca-Cola's $300 Million Bet"Fast Company.
  14. Jump up^ McKinnon, Matthew (30 June 2005). "Kicking Up Dust / The remarkable hip-hop odyssey of Toronto's K'naan"CBC News. Archived from the original on 18 June 2010. Retrieved 30 May 2010.
  15. Jump up to:a b Doherty, Mike (10 February 2005). "Wandering star"Eye Weekly. Archived from the original on 26 September 2007. Retrieved 19 October 2009.
  16. Jump up^ Lusk, John. "Awards for World Music 2007 – Newcomers". BBC. Retrieved 26 June 2007.
  17. Jump up^ CBC Arts (31 March 2007). "Canadian musician K'naan captures BBC prize"CBC. Retrieved 26 June 2007.
  18. Jump up^ Joudrey, Stephanie (4 July 2005). "K'naan Looks Back at Africa During Career High"Chart. Retrieved 10 August 2009.
  19. Jump up^ Brown, Kirk. "K'naan joins the Mind Control Tour of the U.S. with Stephen Marley and Damian Marley". Reggae Liftstyle. Retrieved 26 June 2007.
  20. Jump up^ "K'naan – The Dusty Foot on the Road Album"Wrasse Records. 2006. Retrieved 26 June 2007.
  21. Jump up^ "X3 Artist of the Month: K'naan". X3artist.com. Retrieved 2011-02-21.
  22. Jump up^ "Two New iheartradio Videos: Robyn Strips Down Alicia Keys, K'naan Goofs Around for U2 " Cover Me". Covermesongs.com. Retrieved 2011-02-21.
  23. Jump up^ "K'naan, on Censoring Himself For Success"The New York Times. 8 December 2012.
  24. Jump up^ Greg Quill"The story behind K’naan’s “Wavin’ Flag”"Toronto Star, 27 September 2012.
  25. Jump up^ Setterington, Joanne (17 March 2007). "K'NAAN – If Rap Gets Jealous"South by Southwest. Retrieved 26 June 2007.
  26. Jump up^ Colle, Liam (3 November 2005). "NOW HEAR THIS!: K'naan"PopMatters. Retrieved 26 June 2007.
  27. Jump up^ Henley, Tara (21 April 2005). "K'naan reps African hip-hop"The Georgia Straight. Retrieved 26 June 2007.
  28. Jump up to:a b Desrosiers, Kendra (15 June 2007). "K'Naan Interview"The Source. Retrieved 26 June 2007.
  29. Jump up^ "RapReview Feature for May 13, 2008 – K'naan Interview". Rapreviews.com. 13 May 2008. Retrieved 2011-02-21.
  30. Jump up^ "Is the Copy Right law only for the Selected Few?". YouTube. Retrieved 2011-02-21.
  31. Jump up^ Gordon, Scott (11 February 2009). "K'Naan at The Annex | Music | Recap | The A.V. Club Madison". Madison.decider.com. Retrieved 2011-02-21.
  32. Jump up^ "K'naan – Hoobaale". YouTube. 16 October 2008. Retrieved 2011-02-21.
  33. Jump up^ "K'Naan – If Rap Gets Jealous (Live in Vancouver)". YouTube. 11 March 2009. Retrieved 2011-02-21.
  34. Jump up^ "Toronto hip-hop artist K'naan says World Cup anthem is a 'huge thing'"cp.org. 29 January 2010. Retrieved 30 January 2010.
  35. Jump up^ "K'Naan Celebrates His World Cup Anthem". Billboard.biz. Retrieved 2011-02-21.
  36. Jump up^ "K'naan Ditches SFU Show". Metronews.ca. 22 September 2010. Retrieved 2011-02-21.
  37. Jump up^ "After the Wavin Flag Comes the Wagging Fingers for Knaan". Toronto: Theglobeandmail.com. Archived from the original on 18 October 2010. Retrieved 2011-02-21., archived at the Internet Wayback Machine
  38. Jump up^ "The Peak – Tempers flare after K'naan cancellation – News". The-peak.ca. 7 February 2011. Retrieved 2011-02-21.
  39. Jump up^ "Yahoo! Live – "Decade of Difference" Clinton Concert coverage". Yahoo.com. 15 October 2011. Retrieved 2012-02-27.
  40. Jump up^ Eric Adelson (18 October 2011). "Clinton concert video: Watch K'naan perform". Yahoo.com. Retrieved 2012-02-27.
  41. Jump up^ Gill, Alexandra (February 18, 2010). "Musicians meet secretly in Vancouver for Haiti benefit single"The Globe and Mail. Retrieved June 20, 2017.
  42. Jump up^ "Niet compatibele browser". Facebook. Retrieved 2011-02-21.
  43. Jump up^ FILM: Bouncing Cats. Thecouchsessions.com (31 May 2010). Retrieved on 2012-06-06.
  44. Jump up^ "Bouncing Cats Synopsisl".
  45. Jump up^ Kreps, Daniel (June 28, 2017). "Lin-Manuel Miranda Releases 'Immigrants' Video From 'Hamilton Mixtape'"Rolling Stone.
  46. Jump up^ Whitmore, Tomás; Warsame, Keinan; Joglar, RenéAhmed, RizwanFeliciano, Claudia (28 June 2017). Whitmore, Tomás; Aquino, Alexander, eds. The Hamilton Mixtape: Immigrants (We Get The Job Done)YouTube.
  47. Jump up^ McKiernan, Kathy. "Bono and K'naan meet with Somali Minnesotans to discuss Crisis in Horn of Africa". ONE.
  48. Jump up^ Neighborhood Initiative. Npr.org (26 August 2011). Retrieved on 2012-06-06.
  49. Jump up^ Emerging Explorers (August 2011). "Sol Guy, John Thome, New Media Cultural Storytellers".
  50. Jump up^ Evans, Pat. (28 April 2011) C-393. Policyalternatives.ca. Retrieved on 2012-06-06.
  51. Jump up^ Soloman, Evan. "Interview with musician and activist for Canadian Bill C-393". The Video News Portal.
  52. Jump up^ "Dignitas International".
  53. Jump up^ "AFRIMMA Nominees". African Muzik Magazine. Retrieved 23 May 2014.


  • "World Cup 2010: K'Naan waves flag for Coca-Cola." Music Week 12 June 2010: p. 4. The International Index of Music Periodicals. Web. 23 Oct 2011. [1]
  • Scholtes, Peter S. "Music: The Shifting Republic of K'Naan." The Village Voice 54:9 25 February 2009 – 3 March 2009: p. 52. The International Index of Music Periodicals. Web. 23 Oct 2011. [2]
  • K'naan. Encyclopedia of Popular Music, 4th ed. Ed. Colin Larkin. Oxford Music Online. 24 Oct 2011. [3]

External links[edit]




Description de cette image, également commentée ci-après
Informations générales
Nom de naissance Keinan Abdi Warsame
Naissance  (39 ans)
MogadiscioDrapeau de la Somalie Somalie
Activité principale Auteur-compositeur-interprète-producteur de musique
Genre musical Hip-hopworld music
Instruments Guitarepianopercussions
Années actives 2001-présent
Labels A&M/Octone
Site officiel Lien

K'naan (« Keinaan » signifie « voyageur » en somali), de son vrai nom Keinan Abdi Warsame (né le  à MogadiscioSomalie), est un artiste de hip-hop canado-somalien.



Biographie[modifier | modifier le code]

Né à Mogadiscio (Somalie) en 1978, K'Naan est issu d'une famille d'artistes : sa tante, Magool, est chanteuse et son grand-père, Mohamed Hagi, était un poète célèbre.

C'est la Somalie qui a forgé le musicien et MC K’NAAN Warsame. Petit-fils de Haji Mohamed, l’un des plus grands poètes somaliens, et neveu de la chanteuse à succès Magool, K’Naan a créé son propre courant musical empruntant au reggae, au funk, à la pop, à la soul et surtout au hip hop. Depuis la chute du régime de Mohamed Siad Barre en 1991, le pays est en proie à la guerre civile et aux hostilités avec l'Éthiopie.

C'est dans un climat de chaos que cette même année, alors âgé de 13 ans, il prend ce qui s'avèrera être le dernier vol commercial pour New York avec sa mère, ses frères et ses sœurs. Ils rejoignent son père, parti y travailler comme chauffeur de taxi. Celui-ci lui envoyait alors des cassettes de rap américain. « J'ai été un des premiers à écouter du hip-hop à Mogadiscio. J'apprenais le rythme, le flow, alors que je ne savais pas encore l'anglais » (K'Naan).

La famille s'installera quelques mois à Harlem, avant de partir pour Toronto, à Rexdale.

En 2001, lors d'un concert pour l'anniversaire du Haut Commissariat aux réfugiés il déclame un slam à l'ONU, il y est repéré par le chanteur sénégalais Youssou N'Dour.

En mars 2006, il assure la première partie du Welcome to JamRock European Tour de Damian Marley et participe au festival Paris Bamako au Mali avec Amadou et MariamMOxmo PuccinoBa Cissoko et Tiken Jah Fakoly. En juillet 2007, il est de passage en France, notamment au Nice Jazz Festival où il donne avec son groupe une prestation remarquée.

En décembre 2007, il va à Djibouti avec ses bandes de musique et participe au Fest Horn (Festival de la corne d'Afrique).

Il participe à la bande originale du film Dog Pound sorti fin juin 2010. Il devait, du reste, interpréter Butch, le premier rôle du film. Trois jours avant le premier coup de manivelle, il informait la production qu'il se désistait pour se consacrer entièrement à son album1. Le rôle était repris au pied levé par Adam Butcher.

Le remix de sa chanson Wavin Flag n'a pas été l'hymne pour la Coupe du monde de football 2010, en Afrique du Sud mais a été utilisée par Coca Cola durant cette dernière. La version originale de cette chanson fait partie de la sélection qui apparaît dans les jeux NBA 2K10 et 2010 Fifa World Cup South Africa.

Son titre Mecca fait partie de la bande son du film Cosmopolis de David Cronenberg avec Robert Pattinson. K'Naan lui-même apparaît dans le film sous la forme d'un rappeur mort d'un problème cardiaque qui se fait transporter à travers les rues de New-York dans un cercueil ouvert pour le célébrer.

Style musical[modifier | modifier le code]

Sa musique est un mélange de classique (samplesbeats), de soul et de sons traditionnels est-africains (instruments à cordespercussions et chants).

Ses textes se nourrissent de son histoire personnelle. Notons qu'il a rejoint Nelly Furtado afin de créer le groupe Nelstar*.

Enregistré en grande partie à Kingston, Troubadour est un album unique. K’Naan réussit à mélanger des samples et des instruments enregistrés en live pour un son à la fois roots dans la pure tradition africaine et retrouver aussi l’esprit du hip hop classique.Dans un pays dont le nom est synonyme de conflit, il est facile d’étiqueter K’Naan de rappeur engagé.

Récompenses[modifier | modifier le code]

  • Canadian Urban Music Awards du meilleur compositeur
  • Canadian Urban Music Awards du meilleur enregistrement hip-hop
  • Prix Juno pour l'artiste de l'année (2010)
  • Prix Juno pour le compositeur de l'année (2010)

Discographie[modifier | modifier le code]

Albums[modifier | modifier le code]

Singles[modifier | modifier le code]

Compilations[modifier | modifier le code]

  • 2006 : Africa Plays On

Autres participations[modifier | modifier le code]

Références[modifier | modifier le code]

  1.  interview de Kim Chapiron par Laurent Weil in "Rencontres de cinéma" bonus du DVD chez Warner Bros 10/11/2010

Voir aussi[modifier | modifier le code]

Liens externes[modifier | modifier le code]




K'naan by David Shankbone.jpg
Datos generales
Nombre real Keinan Abdi Warsame
Nacimiento 1 de febrero de 1978 (39 años)
Bandera de Somalia MogadiscioSomalia
Origen Flag of Somalia.svg Somalia
Nacionalidad Canadiense y Somalí
Ocupación Cantante
Información artística
Otros nombres K'Naan
Género(s) Hip hopPop
Período de actividad 2001-presente
Discográfica(s) BMG Music
Artistas relacionados Mos DefTalib KweliNelly FurtadoSimple PlanDamian MarleyDead PrezMatisyahuDavid BisbalKeane
Sitio web thedustyfoot.com
Ficha K'naan en IMDb
[editar datos en Wikidata]

Keinan Abdi Warsame (MogadiscioSomalia1 de febrero de 1978), es un poeta y cantante de hip hop canadienseoriginario de Somalia. Es uno de los raperos más reconocidos nacidos en África, a pesar de que a una temprana edad se mudó a Canadá.1​ Es famoso por sus letras en las que hace referencia al orgullo de sus raíces somalíes y africanas. Su nombre significa Viajero en somalí.




Nacido en la ciudad de Mogadiscio, es miembro activo de la comunidad somalo-canadiense en Toronto. Ocupó los primeros años de su vida luchando para sobrevivir y escuchando álbumes de hip hop de artistas como Nas y Rakim, enviados a él por su padre, quien emigró de Somalia para trabajar como conductor de taxis en la ciudad de Nueva York. Cuando K'naan tenía 13 años, su madre, sus hermanos y él, pudieron abandonar su país natal para emigrar a los Estados Unidos, y después a Canadá, en donde tenían algunos parientes y había una gran comunidad de inmigrantes somalíes. Tan pronto como el inglés de K'naan fue mejorando él comenzó a rapear. Cuando estudiaba el décimo grado, dejó la escuela y viajó dos años por Norteamérica, haciendo presentaciones ocasionalmente.

Gracias a la amistad con Sol Guy, parte del equipo de promoción de Direct Current Media, K'naan se presentó en la ciudad de Ginebra en el 50º aniversario del Alto Comisionado de las Naciones Unidas para los Refugiados en 2001. A través de esta presentación, criticó las acciones de la ONU en la crisis de Somalia durante la década de los 90.

Uno de los miembros de la audiencia era el cantante senegalés Youssou N'Dour, quien se impresionó tanto por la actuación y coraje del joven MC que lo invitó a contribuir en su álbum de 2001 Building Brigdes. Actualmente vive en Canadá junto a su esposa, Deqa, la cuál trabaja de farmacéutica y sus dos hijos, llamados Salaam y Talib Warsame, nacidos en 2005 y 2007 respectivamente.

Carrera como solista[editar]

En 2002, K'naan conoció a Javis Church, parte del equipo de producción de Track and Field Productions que llevó a Nelly Furtado a la fama, una conexión que eventualmente lo llevaría a la grabación de un álbum.

En 2005, se presentó juntó a DobaCaracol en el concierto de Live 8 en la ciudad de Toronto. Su álbum debut de larga duración, The Dusty Foot Philosopher, fue lanzado el mismo año.

Su canción Soobax es parte de la banda sonora del videojuego FIFA 06. Durante una presentación en Toronto en 2005, donde abrió para The Roots se refirió a Soobax como "el himno de la revolución que está ocurriendo en mi país en este momento".

En 2010, colaboró con la banda inglesa Keane en el sencillo de la banda "Stop for a minute" el cual aparece en el Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 y como informa DjOco desde su residencia actual en la Bahía de Cádiz se incluye también en el álbum de Keane "Night Train" aparecido en la primavera de 2010.

Una de sus canciones, "ABC's", será parte de la banda sonora del videojuego Madden NFL 09. Otra, "Wavin' Flag", es parte de la banda sonora del videojuego NBA 2K10 y del videojuego oficial del mundial de Sudáfrica 2010. Esta canción en su versión "Wavin' Flag (The Celebration Mix)" fue escogida para la campaña promocional de Coca-Cola durante el Copa Mundial de la FIFA 2010 de Sudáfrica.




  • En 2008, colaboró con el dúo maliense de Amadou & Mariam con la canción "Africa" de su álbum Welcome to Mali.
  • En 2009, colaboró con la banda de rock británica Keane con las canciones "Stop for a minute" y "Looking Back" de su álbum Night Train.
  • En 2009 también colaboró con el rapero estadounidense Wave con su canción "TV in the radio" de su álbum Attention Deficit y "Um'Ricka" de otro álbum suyo, Back to the Future.
  • En 2010 colaboró con el canadiense Chin Injeti en su canción "Mask on my face" de su álbum D'tach.
  • En 2010 colaboró con Damian Marley & Nas en las canciones "Tribes at war" y "Africa must wake up" de su álbum Distant relatives.
  • En 2010 también colaboró con varios cantantes en distintas versiones de su canción Wavin' Flag para otros idiomas para ser usada en distintos países como la canción publicitaria de Coca Cola en sus. comerciales sobre la Copa Mundial de Fútbol de 2010. Entre ellos, se encuentran David Bisbal (en español), Nancy Ajram(en árabe), Skank (en portugués), Féfé (en francés) y Ai (en japonés).
  • En 2011 colaboró con la banda canadiense Simple Plan con el tema Summer Paradise contenido en el álbum de esta banda titulado Get Your Heart On!

Enlaces externos[editar]