K’Naan – The Dusty Foot Troubadour

Keinan Abdi Warsame was born in Mogadishu, Somalia in 1978.  The poet, rapper, singer-songwriter and instrumentalist became an international star with his hit, ‘Wavin’ Flag’.  Chosen by Coca Cola as its theme-song for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, it seemed everyone was singing the tune.

K’Naan was 13 when he arrived with his family in Toronto.   He had an enriched childhood growing up in an artistic family in Mogadishu; his grandfather was a well-known poet, and his aunt Magool was a popular singer who serenaded him often.  His father, Abdi, left when K’Naan was young, to make a better living as a taxi driver in New York City.

The civil war erupted in Somalia when K’Naan was 12.  Three of his friends were killed by a teenage gunman, and K’Naan himself had a close call when he mistook a grenade for a potato.  His mother soon moved the immediate family, K’Naan and his older brother and younger sister to New York City first, but soon settled in Toronto, Canada.

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