K'naan, “the traveler”, fled war-torn Somalia at the age of thirteen on what turned out to be the very last commercial flight to ever do so, amidst a crumbling society and the end of any form of centralized government. He arrived in Toronto with a very strong sense of purpose, and it is this sense of purpose as well as his amazing lyrical gift, which has made him a beacon for other artists as well as those dedicated to global change.
An elegant ambassador of peace, K'naan rhymes against violence because he never forgot the chance he had to escape death. In 2001, after gaining notoriety as a skilled mc and spoken word poet, K'naan was invited to Geneva to perform a spoken word piece at the 50th anniversary of the UN Commission for Refugees. In front of some of the biggest suits in the world, K'naan brought the house down with his politically charged poem. The audience was so moved by the piece that they gave K'naan a standing ovation. K'naanexplains, "I basically called out the UN for its failed relief mission in Somalia. When my brother heard the song he said that it’s the first song he’d heard of mine that could get me killed.”
K’naan emerged on the International scene with his debut album “The Dusty Foot Philosopher” in 2005. He took home the 2006 Juno Award (Canada’s Grammy) for Best Rap Recording and received newcomer of the year at BBC’s World Music Awards. In the last 2 years he has played over 350 shows touring 5 continents recorded and sharing the stage with Damian Marley, Mos Def, Talib Kweli, M1, Youssou N’Dour, Amadou and Miriam and many more. These artists celebrate the relevance of his political poetry, live performance and purpose-driven mission.
K'naan’s music is truly a vehicle to raise awareness. He is an artist with a message; as such, his music and his actions have placed him in a position to speak out for the voiceless while informing, empowering and inspire the masses.