The finale performance with Aar Maanta and his band was the perfect conclusion to an amazing week-long residency. Over 700 people were in attendance and included Somali community members, Augsburg College students, and other music fans. Here is what local journalist Chris Riemenschneider had to say about the show (as published in vita.mn): "A textbook example of what makes The Cedar Cultural Center special occurred Saturday when Somali singer Aar Maanta...
Aar Maanta recently stood next to a three-foot-tall image of his face as one of his music videos played on a pull-down screen.
Surrounded by girls in brightly colored headscarves and guys in even more vibrant athletic shoes, the popular London-based singer talked about his work at The Common Table in Minneapolis.
On Monday, April 6, Aar Maanta kicked off his residency week as the featured panelist in a discussion about the impact of radicalization and change of culture on Somali music. Other panelists included Bob Stacke - Midnimo Music Coordinator and Professor and Music Department Chair Emeritus at Augsburg College, Community Organizer and Cedar Board Member Abdirizak Bihi, and Spoken Word Artist Asma Farah. The panel was moderated by the Director of Augsburg College's Pan-Afrikan Student Services, Mohamed Sallam.
Cedar Cultural Center artist residences bring Somali music, issues to wider audience
Article by Mila Koumpilova, Star Tribune, April 7, 2015
The Cedar Cultural Center recently set a challenging goal: get its Somali and non-Somali audiences to mingle.
By all accounts, London-based artist Aar Maanta, with his growing mainstream following, might be just the guy to make that happen. Maanta is in town as part of a partnership with Augsburg College to give local millennials a taste of Somali culture. Maanta’s music is rooted in issues facing his fellow Somali expatriates, but he also has a growing following outside the diaspora.
“There’s a lot of negativity associated with our community, and it’s because of cultural misunderstanding that these issues arise,” Maanta said. “These kinds of events bring people together.”
Aar Maanta at the People's Center - A Performance and Discussion on Health and Healing Through the Arts
Aar Maanta performed at the People's Center Health Services as part of the Midnimo activities on Wednesday April, 8th.