A Wayward Word's Worth

October 11, 2010

The Citizen’s Station

Filed under: Uncategorized — kylelawrence @ 3:09 am

In K’Naan’s Somali hometown hearing the radio isn’t merely entertaining- it’s literally lifesaving. By Kyle Mullin for Edmonton’s SEE Magazine, Sept 23 2010

Static can snap like gunfire across the Somali airwaves. Even the slightest broadcast disruption can be deadly in K’Naan’s homeland, because the people aren’t merely trying to soak up musical inspiration from their speakers — they need to hear every word of the news bulletins detailing which parts of town are now hazardous war zones. So when rifle toting al-Shabab and Hizbul Islam extremists seized control of broadcasters like Horn Afrik and GBC last weekend in the nation’s capital of Mogadishu, where K’Naan grew up, the militants in essence severed the people’s last lifeline.

“It’s the only way people know if the world is at all thinking of them, or if they are left to the tragedy that they live,” the rapper, refugee, and rhythmic World Cup ambassador says of the crucial role radio plays in the city he was raised in. “It’s a very sad thing when those radio stations are attacked. Horn Afrik is a brave institution that has been destroyed and rebuilt for many years now over and over again.”

Those societal wounds were only further aggravated by the extremists’ decision to muzzle the area’s artists by banning music entirely from the radio. As a songwriter, that is blasphemy for K’Naan. Yet, coming from Somalia he understands the move completely because just like the stations that carry those melodies, his people’s songs are much more than they seem.

READ FULL STORY:

The Citizen’s Station

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