Don't tell the wife, but I was secretly plotting the whole time: Oh, you want to honeymoon in Paris? Why not?
Surprise: K'naan is playing while we're in Paris? Why not?
Sing: Screamin' Jay Hawkin's version of "I Love Paris" in the shower, in the car, on the plane.
Actually, I had no idea the Somalian rapper would be crack a lackin' through the City of Light. So imagine my bright eyes when I picked up Pariscope and saw the listing - K'naan at the Alhambra (quite possibly the same joint where Duke recorded "Duke Ellington at the Alhambra" in 1958).
Man, what a freaking amazing show. With maybe 200 adoring (mostly white) fans sitting in his lap, K'naan tore through "T.I.A" (peppered with a sample of Bob Marley's "Simmer Down"), invited French rapper Oxmo Puccino on stage for a spell and reigned in Paris time for a stirring trip through "Fatima," the childhood remembrance of a girlfriend who disappeared one day.
But the highlight had to be the original version of "Somalia" - the one he played for his family before recording a kinder, gentler version for the new album "Troubadour" (released in February, landing at #32 on Billboard charts).
"It was haunting and maybe a little too much to put on the album," he told the crowd.
Stripped down and acoustic on stage, the original poem to his homeland underscores a few lines you won't hear on "Troubadour": "Somalia...they say since you know how to kill, you should learn to die...."
Before he plays two shows this weekend at Harmony Festival (11 p.m. Friday @ Techno-Tribal and 5:45 p.m. @ Saturday on the main stage), here's a quick tease: