Thursday, May 27, 2010

They'll Call me Freedom

Hola Bloggies:

So let's talk beats (i.e.: music) or what I consider an integral experience to my workout experience.

You see, I'm one of those people that got an iPod (1st generation nano - thank-you very much) for the sole purpose of working out. Given that I'd never owned a Walkman or a Discman it was rather a leap for little olde me. But truth be told, when I first started working out you couldn't have paid me to stay on a treadmill for more than five minutes. It pretty much bored me to tears.

Enter my BabyPod (yes - it had a name). She was a gift from my parents and she pretty well changed my life. From there on in there was only life pre-nano and post-nano. That little device, along with the Nike+ system, got me from couch to my first 10k race.

Ever since then I've considered my tunes to go hand in hand with my training. Which means that I'm always on the look out for new songs and artists. Today, I thought I'd share with you one of my favourites. The artist known as K'naan.

K'naan is absolutely a product of the Canadian multicultural experience. Born in Somalia, he was fortunate enough as a teenager to escape on the last commercial flight to ever leave Somalia. After a brief stint in the United States, he along with his family found a home in Toronto. There he honed his art - because this man truly is a gifted artist. Until one day he was invited to present a spoken word piece at the United Nations. Story has it, once he was done he was greeted with a massive standing ovation. From there K'naan would go on to release his dayview album before releasing Troubadour.

If you want to know what K'naan is all about - listen to Troubadour. There are songs on there that have made me share a tear or two (okay - maybe three) but there are also up beat songs totally suitable for running or working out. Here are my recommendations:

1) "Somalia" - good steady beat and a great hook
2) "T.I.A." (This is Africa) - the rap and drum beat in the background is just begging for a good run
3) "ABCs" - this was the first K'naan song I ever heard and to this day it gets me to pick up my tempo
4) "Wavin' Flag" - there is no way you can hear this song and not have your spirit lifted

Now unless you're totally living under a rock, K'Naan's music will be totally impossible to ignore over the next while. You see "Wavin' Flag" has been chosen as the Official Anthem of the 2010 FIFA World Cup. And yes that means the song has been re-mixed a million times but my favourite version may very well be the "Young Artists for Haiti" version done with an all-star Canadian ensemble to benefit the Haiti relief efforts.

What do you think about K'Naan? Are you a fan? Favourite songs? I have to say "Fatima" pulls at my heart strings every time. It's the perfect combination of poetry, joy, melancholy, and sadness.


Marianne (frenchfriestoflaxseeds) said...

Muzak! I'm a bit of a music fiend, what with my Rolling Stone subscription since I was 16. I'll be honest though, the only song I know by K'naan is Wavin' Flag. It's catchy. It's not totally my type of music, but it also doesn't make my ears bleed ;)

Is it weird that I never wear my iPod when I workout? I hate having the earbuds in my ears, and they always fall out when I move anyways.

Kelly said...

I don't think I've heard of K'naan, but then again I'm probably going to listen to the songs and be like OH I know this. I love hearing new songs and I totally agree working out to good music is the only way to go!

By the way, the flowers on my blog are from a wedding I was at this weekend- I won the centerpiece :) I agree, they are gorgeous! Mine will be very pink of course!

A Toronto girl out West said...


You just haven't found the right earphones yet! Sony and Nike make some good ones - the key is to buy the sport ones that hook around your ear!


lol I'm willing to bet you've heard more than a few! He's great to work out to!

Nancy@CookbookFixation said...

I like his song "In the beginning" and the Young Artists for Haiti version is better than the original.

a bike rider in the big smoke said...

the young artists for haiti version is that one!

Anonymous said...
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Em said...

Thanks for the recommendation! I always love listening to new music, especially to run to, so I will def. check it out!

I just came across your blog and love it! Check mine out too if you get the chance :)

Jessica said...

I love that song Waving Flag.
Cute story, when in Newfoundland we were having a BBQ and somewhere in another yard there was a large group of kids singing the song, over and over again!! :)

thansk for sharing! :)

CarolynM said...

Yaaaaay! Love this post (and K'naan). Two of my faves are "If Rap Gets Jealous" and "Take a Minute."

I love the Haiti version of Wavin' Flag, but I have to disagree with your sis - the original is better!

A Toronto girl out West said...


I just bought that song off of iTunes. I'll let you know what I think!!!

Bike Rider,

It is a good version but I have deep love for the original! :o)


Thanks for checking out my blog! Please stop by often! And I'll totally check yours out too!!!


That's a brilliant story!!!!


lol I agree with you!

Marathon Maritza said...

I had never heard of this artist before but I'm digging the jams! I went and youtubed the other songs you listed and am dancing at my desk...thanks for sharing!