Coachella 2009 30/30 Initiative: K'naan

Posted by Amoebite, March 26, 2009 08:45pm | Post a Comment
127 Bands, 5 Stages, 3 Days and 1 Mean Sunburn.

"Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival - April 17-19th, 2009 or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Find 30 Reasons To Love a Weekend in the Desert."

- By Scott Butterworth


Day #10 - Artist #10 - K'naan:

Many famous musicians have come from hard times and rough backgrounds. Jay-Z grew up in the Marcy Housing Projects in Brooklyn, Kurt Kobain lived under a bridge for a time in Aberdeen, Washington, and K'naan grew up in the Wardhiigleey ("Lake of Blood") District in Mogadisho, Somalia. Sound familiar? Anyone seen the movie Blackhawk Down? Yeah, K'naan spent his childhood right in the middle of that violence and chaos.  His farther, being an intellectual, left for New York City to work and sent money back to Somalia to support his family. K'naan and his mother were able to get their exit visa approved on the last day the US embassy was open before the Somali government's collapse in 1991, and they boarded the last commercial flight out of the country. If I had to choose...I think I'd take the bridge in Aberdeen. (For more detail on his experience, click

K'naan ended up settling in Toronto, Canada by way of Harlem, NY. Not speaking any English, K'naan taught himself the language by learning lyrics to hip hop songs word for word, long before he even knew what the words meant. By the end of the 1990s K'naan was making a name for himself with performances throughout Canada, including an appearance at the United Nations in 1999, criticizing their neglect of the Somali atrocities.

He met the Canadian producing team Track and Field, who offered to work with him on his debut album, The Dusty Foot Philosopher. The album was released in 2005 and received immediate attention from critics, which culminated in a Juno Award (Canadian version of Grammys) for Rap Recording of the Year in 2006. He released his follow up, Troubadour, on Fe
bruary 24th of this year with collaborations from Damian Marley, Kirk Hammett (Metallica), and Adam Levine (Maroon 5). 

Over the past few years K'naan has somehow managed to fly under the radar, even with performances at international spectacles like Live 8 and Bonnaroo 2008. With his new album, Troubadour, and his appearance Sunday April 19th, 2009 at Coachella, K'naan will slowly but surely be extending his branches across the border from Canada to the U.S. this year, like ivy growing over a fence. And if you've ever had to cut ivy in your yard at home (like I had to constantly as a kid), you know that once that stuff is never goes away!

"Wavin' Flag" from his album Troubadour (2009):

"Somalia" from his album Troubadour (2009):

"Soobax" from his debut album The Dusty Foot Philosopher (2005):

(To see all the Coachella posts in this series, click
here. And thank you to those that commented on previous posts. Please feel free to comment on what you like, don't like, and leave a suggested donation of $10.)

Relevant Tags

The Dusty Foot Philosopher (1), Troubadour (2), Coachella 2009 (26), K'naan (2)