Aar Maanta, a native of Jijiga, Ethiopia, is revered as one of the most creative and talented Somali musicians both in the Horn of Africa and Diaspora. His passion for music led him to begin the 'Horn 2 Grove' recording project which generated Aar's 2009 debut album 'Hiddo & Dhaquan'. He returned to Minneapolis for a month long, three-city residency in September 2018.
Lyrically Aar Maanta's songs are written in the traditional Somali poetic form using allegory and alliteration to address issues of relevance to Somali immigrants.
His band, The Urban Nomads, is a multinational collective with a sound that is dominated by hand drums, saxophone, and guitar interplay. Rhythms vary from North African to reggae and funk.
Recognized for his engagement with social causes and education, Aar Maanta was selected by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to participate in a multilingual music video campaign called Dangerous Crossings.
The video spreads awareness about the dangers faced by immigrants attempting to cross the Gulf of Aden and Red Sea from Africa into Yemen. Aar Maanta's song Tahriib inspired the campaign.
Aar Maanta’s Residency Mini-Documentary
This five-part original video series tells the story of Aar Maanta’s 2018 Midnimo residency. Learn what Midnimo means, discover the program’s impact in Minneapolis, Mankato, and St. Cloud, and get to know Aar Maanta!