Wavin' Flag

Last updated
"Wavin' Flag"
Wavin' Flag single.jpg
Single by K'naan
from the album Troubadour
ReleasedMarch 18, 2009
Format Digital download
RecordedJune 2008
Label A&M Octone
Songwriter(s) Keinan Abdi Warsame
K'naan singles chronology
"Bang Bang"
"Wavin' Flag"
""Stop for a Minute""
Audio video
"Wavin' Flag" on YouTube

"Wavin' Flag" is a song by Somali-Canadian artist K'naan from his album Troubadour . The song was originally written for Somalia and aspirations of its people for freedom. The original single was a hit in Canada and reached #2 on the Canadian Hot 100 as the third official single from the album, after the singles "ABCs" and "Bang Bang", which were minor hits.

Somali Canadians are residents and citizens of Canada of Somali ancestry.

Knaan Somali-Canadian musician

Keinan Abdi Warsame, better known by his stage name K'naan, is a Somali Canadian poet, rapper, singer, songwriter, and instrumentalist. He rose to prominence with the success of his single "Wavin' Flag", which was chosen as Coca-Cola's promotional anthem for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Besides hip-hop, K'naan's sound is influenced by elements of Somali music and world music. He is also involved in various philanthropic initiatives.

<i>Troubadour</i> (Knaan album) 2009 studio album by Knaan

Troubadour is the second studio album by Somali-Canadian hip hop artist K'naan, released February 24, 2009. The album features performances by Kirk Hammett, Chubb Rock, Chali 2na, Mos Def, Damian Marley, and Adam Levine. Production was completed by Track and Field, a team composed of R&B artists Gerald Eaton and Brian West.


After a devastating earthquake in Haiti in 2010, a remake of the song by an ad hoc supergroup of Canadian artists, credited as Young Artists for Haiti, became a charity single in Canada, reaching #1 on the Canadian Hot 100 in its own right.

2010 Haiti earthquake magnitude 7.3 Mw earthquake on 2010-01-12

The 2010 Haiti earthquake was a catastrophic magnitude 7.0 Mw earthquake, with an epicenter near the town of Léogâne (Ouest) and approximately 25 kilometres (16 mi) west of Port-au-Prince, Haiti's capital. The earthquake occurred at 16:53 local time on Tuesday, 12 January 2010.

Young Artists for Haiti band

Young Artists for Haiti is a movement to engage Canada's young musicians to continue to inspire an ongoing effort and contribution to Canadian charities for their work to help the people of Haiti overcome the devastation from the 7.1 magnitude earthquake that rocked the country on January 12, 2010. More than 50 Canadian artists gathered at The Warehouse Studio in Vancouver, British Columbia to record a rendition of renowned hip hop artist K'naan's "Wavin' Flag".

The song became a truly global hit when it was chosen as Coca-Cola's promotional anthem for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, hosted by South Africa. This amended international version with additional lyrics reached the top ten in more than twenty different charts around the world. The English version was released as "Wavin' Flag (Celebration Mix)" by K'naan to differentiate it from the original Canadian hit or from the Canadian Haiti charity hit. The Spanish cover featuring David Bisbal became very popular. A version of the song featuring will.i.am and David Guetta was targeted for international markets. Many other bilingual and country-specific versions were released.

Coca-Cola Carbonated soft drink

Coca-Cola, or Coke, is a carbonated soft drink manufactured by The Coca-Cola Company. Originally marketed as a temperance drink and intended as a patent medicine, it was invented in the late 19th century by John Stith Pemberton and was bought out by businessman Asa Griggs Candler, whose marketing tactics led Coca-Cola to its dominance of the world soft-drink market throughout the 20th century. The drink's name refers to two of its original ingredients: coca leaves, and kola nuts. The current formula of Coca-Cola remains a trade secret, although a variety of reported recipes and experimental recreations have been published.

2010 FIFA World Cup 19th FIFA World Cup, held in South Africa in 2010

The 2010 FIFA World Cup was the 19th FIFA World Cup, the world championship for men's national association football teams. It took place in South Africa from 11 June to 11 July 2010. The bidding process for hosting the tournament finals was open only to African nations. In 2004, the international football federation, FIFA, selected South Africa over Egypt and Morocco to become the first African nation to host the finals.

South Africa Republic in the southernmost part of Africa

South Africa, officially the Republic of South Africa (RSA), is the southernmost country in Africa. It is bounded to the south by 2,798 kilometres (1,739 mi) of coastline of Southern Africa stretching along the South Atlantic and Indian Oceans; to the north by the neighbouring countries of Namibia, Botswana, and Zimbabwe; and to the east and northeast by Mozambique and Eswatini (Swaziland); and it surrounds the enclaved country of Lesotho. South Africa is the largest country in Southern Africa and the 25th-largest country in the world by land area and, with over 57 million people, is the world's 24th-most populous nation. It is the southernmost country on the mainland of the Old World or the Eastern Hemisphere. About 80 percent of South Africans are of Bantu ancestry, divided among a variety of ethnic groups speaking different African languages, nine of which have official status. The remaining population consists of Africa's largest communities of European, Asian (Indian), and multiracial (Coloured) ancestry.

In 2012, K'naan published a children's book, When I Get Older: The Story Behind Wavin' Flag, about the song and its history. [1]

Original single

The original single of "Wavin' Flag" appeared originally on his album Troubadour . The single reached #2 on the Canadian Hot 100 as the third official single from the album, which was produced by Kerry Brothers, Jr. and Bruno Mars. [2] K'naan first performed the song acoustically live on Q TV , where he gave viewers a preview of Troubadour prior to its release. [3] The lyrics of the original version are about the struggle of refugees displaced by war, with references to K'naan's native Somalia, in comparison to the later version used for the World Cup, where the lyrics were rewritten in a more celebratory tone. [4]

The Canadian Hot 100 is a music industry record chart in Canada for songs, published weekly by Billboard magazine. The Canadian Hot 100 was launched on the issue dated March 31, 2007, and is currently the standard record chart in Canada; a new chart is compiled and officially released to the public by Billboard every Tuesday.

Bruno Mars American singer and songwriter

Peter Gene Hernandez, known professionally as Bruno Mars, is an American singer, songwriter, record producer, multi-instrumentalist, and dancer. He is known for his stage performances, retro showmanship, and for performing in a wide range of musical styles, including Pop, R&B, funk, soul, reggae, hip hop, and rock. Mars is accompanied by his band, The Hooligans, who play a variety of instruments, such as electric guitar, bass, piano, keyboards, drums, and horns, and also serve as backup singers and dancers.

<i>Q</i> (radio show) Canadian radio show

Q is a Canadian arts magazine show produced by and airing on CBC Radio One, with syndication to public radio stations in the United States through Public Radio International. The program mainly features interviews with prominent cultural and entertainment figures, though subjects and interviewees also deal with broader cultural topics such as their social, political and business aspects, as well as weekly panels on sports and media issues on Mondays and Fridays respectively.

Chart performance

Young Artists for Haiti

"Wavin' Flag"
Young Artists for Haiti logo.jpg
Single by Young Artists for Haiti
ReleasedMarch 12, 2010
RecordedFebruary 18, 2010
Label Universal Music Canada
Songwriter(s) K'naan
Producer(s) Bob Ezrin
Music video
"Wavin' Flag" by Young Artists For Haiti on YouTube

In 2010, the song was remade by a supergroup of Canadian artists, credited as Young Artists for Haiti , as a charity single to benefit relief efforts following the 2010 Haiti earthquake. [6] The charity single was spearheaded by producer Bob Ezrin, engineered by Mike Fraser and was reworked to include specific lyrics for Haiti, including a rap solo by Drake. It was released on March 12, 2010 [7] with proceeds going to Free the Children, War Child Canada and World Vision Canada. This new version went straight to #1 on the Canadian charts.

Bob Ezrin Canadian music producer and keyboardist

Robert Alan Ezrin is a Canadian music producer and keyboardist, best known for his work with Lou Reed, Alice Cooper, Kiss, Pink Floyd, Deep Purple, Peter Gabriel, and Phish. As of 2010, Ezrin's career in music had spanned four decades and his production work continued into the 21st century, with acts such as Deftones and Thirty Seconds to Mars.

Mike Fraser is a Canadian record producer, engineer, and mixer. Fraser has recorded and mixed five records for AC/DC, namely the releases The Razors Edge, Ballbreaker, Stiff Upper Lip, Black Ice and Rock Or Bust. Fraser recorded and mixed the classic AC/DC anthem "Thunderstruck".

Haiti Unitary republic in the Caribbean

Haiti, officially the Republic of Haiti and formerly called Hayti, is a country located on the island of Hispaniola in the Greater Antilles archipelago of the Caribbean Sea, to the east of Cuba and Jamaica and south of The Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands. It occupies the western three-eighths of the island which it shares with the Dominican Republic. To its south-west lies the small island of Navassa Island, which is administered by the United States but claimed by Haiti as part of its territory. Haiti is 27,750 square kilometers (10,714 sq mi) in size and has an estimated population of 10.8 million, making it the most populous country in the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the second-most populous country in the Caribbean after Cuba.

Participating soloists included K'naan, Nelly Furtado, Sam Roberts, Avril Lavigne, Pierre Bouvier, Tyler Connolly, Kardinal Offishall, Jully Black, Lights, Deryck Whibley, Serena Ryder, Jacob Hoggard, Emily Haines, Hawksley Workman, Drake, Chin Injeti, Ima, Pierre Lapointe, Elisapie Isaac, Esthero, Corb Lund, Fefe Dobson, Nikki Yanofsky, Matt Mays, Justin Nozuka, and Justin Bieber. Performing the chorus were Arkells, Lamar Ashe, Broken Social Scene, Torquil Campbell, Canadian Tenors, Aion Clarke, City and Colour, Tom Cochrane, Jim Cuddy, Jim Creeggan, Kathleen Edwards, Dave Faber, Jessie Farrell, Colin James, Pat Kordyback, Brandon Lehti, Colin MacDonald, Jay Malinowski, Stacey McKitrick, Suzie McNeil, Stephan Moccio, Kevin Parent, Josh Ramsay, Red 1, Hayley Sales, James Shaw, and Shiloh. [8] Students from Vancouver high schools Lord Byng Secondary and Magee Secondary also voluntarily participated by playing together as an orchestra. A music video was shot for the charity single at The Warehouse Studio in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. [9] In March 2011, the single won a Juno award for "Single of the Year".

Track listing

Digital download [10]
1."Wavin' Flag"3:55

Weekly chart

Chart (2010)Peak
scope="row"Canada (Canadian Hot 100) [11] 1
UK Singles (Official Charts Company) [12]

Year-end charts

Chart (2010)Peak
Canada (Canadian Hot 100) [13]


RegionCertification Certified units/sales
Canada (Music Canada) [14] 3× Platinum120,000*

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone

Coca-Cola Celebration Mix

"Wavin' Flag
(Coca-Cola Celebration Mix)"
Wavin' Flag.jpg
Single by K'naan
from the album Troubadour: Champion Edition
ReleasedApril 30, 2010
Format Digital download
Label Universal
Producer(s) The Smeezingtons
K'naan singles chronology
"Stop for a Minute"
"Wavin' Flag
(Coca-Cola Celebration Mix)
"Each Tear"
Music video
"Wavin' Flag (Celebration Mix)" on YouTube

In 2010, a remix of the song, entitled the "Celebration Mix", was recorded for use as Coca-Cola's promotional anthem for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, hosted by South Africa. [15] This version reached number one in Germany, Switzerland and Austria and number two in Italy, the United Kingdom, and Ireland.

Coca-Cola described the remix as "inspired by the joyous dance celebrations familiar to Africa." Coca-Cola integrated its jingle, well known from previous Coca-Cola commercials, into the mix, generating a direct association between the remixed song and the brand. New lyrics related to football were added, “let’s rejoice in the Beautiful Game”, and “see the champions take the field.” [16] A music video shows people playing the game, and goal celebrations. The song was used throughout the tournament, and featured on all worldwide versions of the Coca-Cola campaign. The song was also played at events for the FIFA World Cup Trophy Tour, where K'naan performed this version live for the first time, and featured on the online digital platform for the World Cup. He also performed at the World Cup kick-off concert. The music video for the remix includes a guest appearance by Malhar Chitnis. [17] The remix video was recorded in Estadio Centenario in Montevideo, the site of the first 1930 FIFA World Cup Final. The remix version appears on the Champion Edition of Troubadour.

Although the remix features many elements of the original song, it includes most notably a new pre-chorus that sets the uplifting, unified tone of the 2010 FIFA World Cup, turning the song into one that is more open, more inviting and more celebratory. "I'm so proud of this [new] version," K'naan told Billboard.Biz. The new version also removes many of the darker lyrics of the original song. According to Billboard, Coca-Cola "loved the song but noted that lyrical references to 'a violent prone, poor people zone' and people 'struggling, fighting to eat' didn't fit the campaign's themes". [18]

We took something like 50 drums and did this crazy mix for it. It's about the one time that we all get together and the world forgets its conflict and its problems and we focus on this unity and celebration. That moment is connected now to 'Wavin' Flag.'

Chart performance

Celebration Mix

"Wavin' Flag
(Celebration Mix)"
Single by K'naan featuring will.i.am and David Guetta
from the album Troubadour: Champion Edition
ReleasedMay 14, 2010
Format Digital download
K'naan singles chronology
"Each Tear"
"Wavin' Flag
(Celebration Mix)
"Summer Paradise"
will.i.am singles chronology
"Wavin' Flag (Celebration Mix)"
"I'm in the House"

A remix of "Wavin' Flag", which features French music producer David Guetta and American rapper, producer and The Black Eyed Peas frontman will.i.am, was made for international release outside of Canada. Will.i.am's solo parts were exclusively written for the international version, and for the K'naan part, some of the lyrics were amended. his version of the song was mixed by hit engineer Dylan "3-D" Dresdow. This version was later released as the B-side to the Celebration Mix. [45] The maxi-single CD also included the Spanish adaptation with the Spanish language verses written by Rafael Vergara and interpreted by David Bisbal.

The maxi single release track list: [46]

1."Wavin' Flag" (Celebration Mix) The Smeezingtons3:33
2."Wavin' Flag" (Celebration Mix) (featuring will.i.am and David Guetta)
  • David Guetta
  • N. Van De Wall
  • W. Adams
  • Afrojack
  • David Guetta
  • Kerry "Krucial" Brothers
  • The Smeezingtons
  • will.i.am
3."Wavin' Flag" (Spanish Celebration Mix) (featuring David Bisbal) The Smeezingtons3:52
4."Wavin' Flag" (album version) 
  • Bruno Mars
  • Kerry "Krucial" Brothers

The version featuring will.i.am and David Guetta was released as the single B-side to "Wavin' Flag (Celebration Mix)" single release in Europe.

A separate music video was made for this version, with the artists performing in front of a large black flag. However some scenes were used from the original Canadian music video and from K'naan's "Wavin' Flag (The Celebration Mix)" music video intertwined with visuals of the new video.

Bilingual versions

Wavin' Flag (Spanish Celebration Mix) by K'naan and David Bisbal Wavin-flag-spanish-celebration-mix.jpg
Wavin' Flag (Spanish Celebration Mix) by K'naan and David Bisbal

Many bilingual versions of the Celebration Mix have been made, for use in each of their respective countries. The initial bilingual version was recorded by K'naan and Spanish singer David Bisbal, sung in both English and Spanish, and targeting all Spanish-speaking markets, including Spain, Mexico, Central and South America. This version was entitled the "Spanish Celebration Mix", and was officially made available for digital download in February 2010. As a part of the promotion, a music video of the Spanish Celebration Mix was filmed and released for the song. [47] Another version sung in both English and Arabic, featuring Nancy Ajram, a multi-platinum Lebanese singer and spokesperson for Coca-Cola Middle East, was released in all Middle Eastern Countries. This version, entitled the "Arabic Celebration Mix", also had a music video recorded for it. Scenes were filmed in Denmark, Portugal, Brazil, Lebanon and South Africa. [48] A Chinese version, featuring Jacky Cheung and Jane Zhang, reached #1 on China Music Chart., [49] and a Thai version, featuring Tattoo Colour, charted at #3 there.

Versions released under Coca-Cola sponsorship for 2010 FIFA World Cup: [50]

Unofficial releases collaborate with FIFA 2010 Coca-Cola campaign theme

Year-end charts

Chart (2010)Position
Austrian Singles Chart [70]
Canadian Hot 100 [71]
Dutch Singles Chart [72]
European Hot 100 Singles [73]
German Singles Chart [74]
Hungarian Airplay Chart [75]
Italian Singles Chart [76]
Swiss Singles Chart [77]
Spanish Singles Chart [78]
UK Singles (The Official Charts Company) [79]


Country Certifications
(sales thresholds)
Canada 3x Platinum [80]
Germany Platinum [81]
Italy Gold [82]
India Gold [83]
Spain Platinum [78]

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