I’ve often mentioned K’naan in
this newsletter and website; he's a really impressive singer and
songwriter who looks as if he is headed for some major worldwide
attention. (In the UK discussion forum on Charlie Gillett’s
website, regular Howard Male listed K’Naan’s WOMAD performance
as his top gig of the year. (“It moved me to tears.”) You can
hear some of K’Naan on Gillett’s radio show: both his WOMAD
performance and his guest spot on Charlie's former radio show
are archived on
Mondomix. Scroll through the Charlie Gillett section for the
"K'Naan" and "Womad 2006" links.)
However, I was struck somewhat
negatively by K’Naan’s latest video, which he made concerning an
incident that happened to him in Sweden. One of the aspects of
K’Naan’s songs that have impressed many of us is his strong,
visceral reaction against violence, as a result of witnessing
the true horror of violence in his native Somalia. (“How can
they go to war, when it’s war that’s terrorizing?” he sings in “Hoobale”).
from the U.K. Independent for example.
At a show in Sweden, he and his
band were blocked by, and roughed up by security staff. Police
came, and ended up putting K’Naan’s manager in jail for the
night. K’Naan’s reaction is understandably angry and emotional.
His video tells the story from his perspective, and includes
actual footage from the incident.
However, despite what happened,
I found it pretty disturbing to hear him sing:
"I wish I had a knife. I'd stab him..."
"I wished I was travelling with a gun. I'd
a put 2 in each asshole"
The Swedish incident no doubt
was pretty messy, but surely he has seen much worse. That's what
gives his words such power. So when I heard him singing words
like the above, it sounded like a totally different K'Naan, a
totally different message.
See his video here:
http://www.thedustyfoot.com/kickedpushed (requires Quick
His last Toronto concert (Oct. 7 -- photos
a fund-raiser for a program titled "Shoot With This" , designed
to encourage high school students in the Jane-Finch area to to
use video to tell their stories and express themselves (instead
of using guns). "What better weapon to arm youth with than a
video camera?" stated the press release.
I wonder what the reaction would have been at
that event if this video of K'Naan's -- with his statements --
had been shown.