K'naan: The Dusty Foot Philosopher at Womad 2006
After a weekend at the Womad festival, I am full of the joyful beats of World Music. With World Music artists on the up and up—take for example the late great Ali Farke Toure’s last album which is in the UK top 40—Womad is no longer the exclusive domain of jos stick-waving hippies. This is a true multicultural event, a living Benetton ad, with an audience as diverse as the artist line-up. Among the many incredible performances this weekend K’naan, a singer, rap artist and poet, is the epitome of a world musician. Born in Somalia into the Hip-Hop generation, he was rapping Nas and Rakim verses by age nine. At 13 he left Somalia on the last commercial flight out of the war-torn country. Since then he’s been a resident of Toronto, honing his lyrical talent and using it to speak out against war, corruption and human rights abuses. Within the fusion of African percussive rhythms, American hip hop and witty lyrics this man has really got something to say. “I’m gonna spit these verses ‘cause I feel annoyed and I am not gonna quit till I fill the void. If I’d rhyme about home and got descriptive I’d make 50 cent look like Limp Bizkit.” Check out The Dusty Foot Philosopher for more of where that came from or buy the album from Direct Current Media or Amazon.