Midnimo, the Somali word for “unity,” is a program that features Somali artists from Minnesota and around the world in multi-week residencies and events that engage Somali immigrants with the arts and increase understanding of Somali culture through music. Midnimo is reviving and preserving Somalia’s rich musical traditions while fostering social connections between generations and cultures in the heart of the largest Somali diaspora in North America.
Often called the “Nation of Poets,” Somalia has a rich musical history. However, the civil war in Somalia destroyed these rich musical traditions. As leaders who spoke out against warlords and militants, artists’ lives were in danger, instruments were looted, and a wave of conservatism proclaimed music as haram – forbidden. Through Midnimo, The Cedar connects Somali singers with live musical support by leveraging partnerships with local musicians, transcribing Somali music into Western notation, and flying in Somali musicians from different parts of the world to perform with the featured artists. Somali singers are accessing resources to present robust live music performances and a residency platform to share their work and perspectives with Somalis and non-Somalis of all ages. As one Midnimo Residency Artist Maryan Mursal exclaimed, “I thought Somali music was dead. Through Midnimo, I have seen that Somali music is alive in Minnesota!”
Since its launch in October 2014, Midnimo has served over 12,500 audience members, including 2,500 K-12 youth. In 2015, The Cedar began expanding its partnerships throughout the state in order to take Midnimo to areas with growing Somali populations and has since conducted activities in Mankato and St. Cloud. Over the next three years, The Cedar expects to reach an additional 10,000 audience members in the Twin Cities and greater Minnesota.
Midnimo is supported by: