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K’naan Brings Intimate Performance to Massive Stage at Voodoo 2012

K'naan Performs at Voodoo Music Experience 2012
Chuck Armstrong

It’s too bad K’naan played on the main stage at Voodoo fest. His personal, live-band hip hop is much better suited for closer quarters.

A lot of K’naan’s lyrics relate his personal history (he was born and spent much of his life in the turbulent eastern African country of Somalia); his band backs him up loosely, soulfully, with heart; on stage, he’s funny, he’s uplifting, he’s a great rapper, and he’s likeable – heck, he’s loveable. But he’s a little quiet, too. He had to play on a stage with a lot of empty space, in front of a sparse audience. That’s never an ideal situation in which to see a great act, but it was a bummer to see how much it undermined K’naan’s show.

There were certainly some lyrically thrilling moments. He rapped about Betty White and Frank Sinatra; he confronted others rappers for posturing. ““If I rapped about home and got descriptive/ I’d make 50 Cent look like Limp Bizkit,” he rapped, and we laughed.

At his best, he told the story of his life. “I was the seed planted by lovers/ In a refugee camp overseas/ I grew free, I grew more roots/ And became a tree.”

It was a great story – we just wish we could have been a little closer to him when he told it.

K'naan On Stage at Voodoo Music Experience 2012
Chuck Armstrong

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