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Musicians meet secretly in Vancouver for Haiti benefit single

Somali-Canadian rapper K'naan performs at the Rock The Bells Festival at the Molson Amphitheatre in Toronto on July 5, 2009.

JENNIFER ROBERTS/jennifer roberts The Globe and Mail

Canadian musicians are waving the Maple Leaf for Haiti, secretly recording a benefit single for the earthquake-ravaged country.

Famed Canadian music producer Bob Ezrin is spearheading the project, which will include Somalian-born Canadian rapper K'naan, performing the K'naan hit song Wavin' Flag .

The recording is taking place Thursday at The Warehouse Studio in Vancouver, which was founded by Bryan Adams.

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The new Olympic anthem-in-the-making was recorded on the fly amidst all the excitement of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games.

"They've pulled this together so quickly," Adrienne Kakoullis of Holmes Creative Communications said Thursday afternoon. "They're in the studio right now."

Although details are still sketchy, she confirmed that about 40 Canadian vocalists and performers had gathered to record a new version of the song Wavin' Flag .

Bryan Adams, Nelly Furtado, Feist, Nickleback, Emily Haines, Ron Sexsmith and Colin James are just a few of the Canadian performing artists currently in Vancouver for the Olympic Games who may have lent their voices to the super-group recording which sounds similar to We Are the World , the 1985 charity single for African famine relief. Diana Krall is also in town, as is Broken Social Scene.

"All of Canada's best to record @iamknaan's Wavin' Flag for Haiti in Van City tomorrow!" reads a post that went out on Twitter yesterday.

Mr. Ezrin, who is producing the Wavin' Flag project, worked on Pink Floyd's album The Wall . He recently made a new album with Peter Gabriel and owns the Nimbus School of Recording Arts in Vancouver.

The afternoon session was videotaped for a possible future television broadcast by John Brunton of Insight Productions, the Toronto production company behind Canadian Idol and Battle of the Blades .

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"I'm not at liberty to discuss it at the moment," said Mr. Brunton said by phone on Wednesday, confirming that he was indeed in Vancouver to film a major project.

"I'll probably have a better opportunity to talk about it tomorrow," he added. "I'm muzzled."

Wavin' Flag will also be featured as the anthem for this year's World Cup in South Africa. K'Naan sang the same song at Canada For Haiti , a broadcast telethon that raised $13.5-million for Haitian quake victims last month.

A similar broadcast telethon, Hope For Haiti , brought Madonna, Coldplay, Jay-Z, Justin Timberlake and U2's Bono together in live performances from London, New York and Los Angeles.

In Vancouver, two local radio stations, Red FM and Radio India, have raised more than $1.5-million through individual listeners who came out in droves to pledge donations for quake-torn Haiti.

Rumours of the project began swirling last week when K'naan posted this message on Twitter: "Coming soon: Me & Bob Ezrin (producer of Pink Floyd's The Wall) are working on something epic! But u didn't hear from me ok?"

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The Toronto-based hip-hop musician wrote: "Sadly, leaving Peru already but heading to Vancouver to do something that'll hopefully help some lives in need."

Proceeds are to go to Free The Children, War Child Canada and World Vision.

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About the Author
Vancouver restaurant critic

Alexandra Gill has been The Globe and Mail’s Vancouver restaurant critic since 2005. She joined the paper as a summer intern in 1997 and was hired full-time as an entertainment columnist the following year. In 2001, she moved to Vancouver as the Western Arts Correspondent, a position she held until 2007. More

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