Just in case you needed another reason to strike up a conversation with your local cab driver, at least one of them is a celebrity’s father. We’ve been hearing the rumour that the Somali Canadian rapper/poet/singer/songwriter K’naan’s dad drives a cab here in Yellowknife for years, and it turns out that this particular YK Myth is definitely true.
The story goes that Abdu (Abdi) Warsame left Somalia when his son K’naan (born Keinan Abdi Warsame) was still a young boy, originally finding work as a cab driver in New York City. He would send money back to his family, as well as hip-hop music for K’naan. The music appealed to the young boy, who’d grown up listening to poetry from both his lyrically talented aunt and grandfather.
At age 13, with their country in the midst of civil war, K’naan, his mother, brother and sister flew on the last commercial flight out of Mogadishu to join Abdi in New York City. They soon relocated together to Toronto, where most of the family still resides. Somewhere along the way, as his son’s fame grew, Abdu came North to Yellowknife, where there exists a fairly large and thriving Somali community.
Nowadays, Abdu is still in Yellowknife, and just returned to work with City Cab earlier this month. His colleagues describe him as a fairly quiet man who keeps to himself, not getting involved in a lot of the glamour of celebrity life; he and his son have long gone their own way.
Back in 2006, K’naan was scheduled to perform at our Folk on the Rocks, but former organizer Tracey Bryant confirmed that he cancelled at the last minute, stating exhaustion as the official reason. No word on any plans for performances in our capital by the young Warsame in the near future.
While we didn’t get a chance to speak to Abdu personally, especially with City Cab’s new restriction on requesting specific drivers, he’s definitely behind the wheel and working as hard as ever. So, when’s the last time you traded stories with your cab driver?