K’naan’s Wavin’ Flag – A truly international song

K'naan's Wavin' Flag
K'naan's Wavin' Flag

After hearing this World Cup theme song, Wavin’ Flag, at the Coca-Cola concert at the Shanghai Expo, I was hooked on the rhythm and the catchy lyrics.

Here’s the LIVE Chinese version, 旗开得胜 that I first heard, sung by an international ensemble of Jacky Cheung (张学友) from Hong Kong, Jane Zhang (张靓颖) from China and Somali-Canadian, K’naan:

The song has quite a bit of background. It has been sung in many different languages and released in many different versions around the world (via wikipedia):

“Wavin’ Flag” is a song by K’naan from his album Troubadour, reaching #2 on the Canadian Hot 100. A remake by a supergroup of Canadian artists, credited as Young Artists for Haiti, became a charity single, with this new version going straight to #1 on the Canadian charts. A version of the song featuring will.i.am and David Guetta is targeted for international release. The song also appears on the soundtrack for the video game NBA 2K10.

The song was chosen as Coca-Cola’s promotional anthem for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, to be held in South Africa. The English version was released as “Wavin’ Flag (The Celebration Mix)” by K’naan and many other bilingual and country-specific versions have been released. “The Celebration Mix” version of the song topped the singles charts in Germany, Swiss Music Charts and Austria.

The original version by K’naan has more controversial lyrics. I actually like it better as it is more reflective of the struggles in Africa:

The World Cup version is more celebratory and the lyrics has be adjusted accordingly:

Below are some of the various international versions available which I managed to find and compile from youtube. Enjoy. I particularly like the Nigerian and Thai ones. Soccer and music can really bring the world together. 🙂

Arabic version (with subtitles) with K’naan featuring Nancy Ajram:

Brazilian version with K’naan featuring Skank:

Chinese version with K’naan featuring Jacky Cheung and Jane Zhang:

French version with K’naan featuring Féfé:

Greece version with K’naan Professional Sinnerz featuring Komis X:

Indonesian version (Semangat Berkibar) by K’naan and Ipank:

Nigerian version (Naija Remix) by K’naan and Banky W. & M.I.:

Spanish version by K’naan and David Bisbal:

Thai version by K’naan and Tattoo Colour:

Vietnamese version by K’naan and Phuong Vy:

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