Midnimo, the Somali word for “unity,” is a program that features Somali artists from Minnesota and around the world in residencies and events that 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 across Minnesota.
There are three primary parts of the Midnimo program: International Artist Residencies, support for Local Somali Musicians, and Youth Programming.
Aar Maanta’s Residency Mini-Documentary
This brand-new 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!
International Artist Residencies
Midnimo residencies last several weeks and include discussions, workshops, education programs, campus collaborations, and other community-based activities in venues through Minneapolis, Mankato, and St. Cloud. Through these activities, Midnimo engages K-12 and college students, families, and Somali and non-Somali audiences members of all ages. Each city's residency culminates in a public finale performance.
Support for Local Somali Musicians
The Cedar presents local Somali musicians, both vocalists and instrumentalists, as mainstage performers, providing a platform for Somali artists to share their talents, passing cultural traditions down to new generations and introducing non Somali audiences to a distinct sound.
Beyond performance, local Somali musicians and dancers have also been in mini Cedar residencies, keeping quaarmi (Somali jazz) and buraanbur (poetry, chanting, and dancing for woman) traditions alive. In some cases these artists have been face of The Cedar. Minnesota boasts local super stars who have cultivated fans from around the world: singers like “Dalmar” Yare, “Hodan” Abdirahman, Rahma Rose, drummer Abdirizak Mohamed Kahiye "Harbi," and oud player Abdisalam Salayman "Najax." All have played a role in supporting The Cedar helping to promote shows, host international artists, and provide music lessons to local students.
Collaborations between music faculty and students at Augsburg University have produced bands, albums, and video content. Wadajir Riverside Band was released in 2018, and the year before Dalmar's Spotlight, featured upcoming shows at The Cedar, got over 250,000 views over the course of 10 episodes on YouTube and Facebook.
The Youth Leadership Council, hosted at The Cedar, engages Somali youth from the neighborhood ages 15-22. The group, who named themselves The Cedar Stars, aims to build skills in community engagement and outreach, project planning, marketing, event management and oversight, partnership building, presentation and networking, and most of all, introduces young people to the possibility of a career in the arts. From this behind-the-scene administrative view of a functioning mid-sized nonprofit arts organization, The Cedar Stars have planned, supported, and hosted various events. They have curated local artists for smaller shows at The Cedar, created their own spoken word / theatrical events, hosted artist Q & A’s, and even collaborated on a new Children’s Album, Ubadkaa Mudnaanta Leh produced by 2018 artist-in-resident Aar Maanta.