August 16, 2010

They'll Call Me Freedom

Most people know that Wavin' Flag by K'Naan, in its multiple versions around the globe, has experienced a tremendous amount of success and popularity worldwide. However here are some things about the song you might not know...

They'll Call Me Freedom 1
When K'naan was 11 years old he and three of this friends were attacked and fired on by gunmen in Mogadishu, Somalia. His friends were all killed, but he survived. The chorus of the song, "When I get older / I will be stronger / They'll call me freedom / Just like a waving flag" is his response to this experience.

K'naan says, "At some point it becomes a was hard to look back on that experience, but then you write it and you make it a melody and all you have left is a beautiful melody and it's a song now....I have redrawn my whole life that way."

As Somalia looks to its future I hope K'naan provides encouragement to his people, "As someone who is from Somalia, and has a strong community at home, I have more affinity to my people than to my career," he says, "Music opened an eye or my own life, written as a country disguised as a person. If you pay attention to how I write, what I write, it's almost as if I'm writing about a collective experience, rather that just my personal life... trying to make sense of our identity. A lot of my songs are still weighty, but they don't stay there, they don't stay in anger, they don't linger in sadness, they address it and kind of fall into the light... That's the sentiment that people care about."

And We All Will Be Singing It 2
With over 3 billion people watching the World Cup, the song played before and after every game, and two ads running throughout the tournament in 160 nations, Wavin' Flag is playing everywhere. There are now more than 20 duet-versions of the song including Spanish, Portuguese, Mandarin, French, Greek, Japanese, Nigerian, Vietnamese, Indonesian, Thai, Haitian, Arabic and Mongolian. I've included the Mongolian version here if you want to check it out and here is a good playlist if you want to hear other languages. I hope you all have enjoyed the song as much as I have.