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Cedar Cultural Center Presents: Aar Maanta and the Urban Nomads

  • Spring Cafe 1360 Lexington Parkway North Saint Paul, MN, 55103 United States (map)

Join us for a special Eid concert for families with 2018-19 Cedar Artist-in-Residence, Aar Maanta!

Aar Maanta is a Somali musician whose activism, work and creativity led him to become a goodwill ambassador for the United Nations High Commissioner of Refugees (UNHCR), while leading one of the only active touring bands in the world that plays live Somali music. His work includes the recent UNHCR campaign about irregular youth migration in the Horn of Africa, Dangerous Crossings, for which his song “Tahriib” was reproduced and performed in collaboration with leading artists from Africa.


As a singer and songwriter, Aar Maanta has embraced an eclectic mix of styles including influences from rock and reggae jostling with traditional Arabic and Somali music. Despite graduating with a science degree, Aar Maanta pursued music. He began the Horn 2 Groove recording project which generated his 2009 debut album, Hiddo & Dhaqan. The album merged traditional Somali music with Western influences like house and reggae into a fusion described as Afro-hop. In 2010, the Paris-based radio station StarAfrica recognized Aar Maanta’s achievement in creating this new sound when it named him “A Somali Culture Shaper in London.” He released the 2014 EP, Somali Songs from the Diaspora to connect with Somalis around the world. Aar Maanta hopes to take his music to the wider community with an album in the works to be released in fall 2018.


As an artist with a mission, he has prioritized education and mentorship of young people through workshops and music-focused educational programs throughout his career. As part of the his June residency, Aar Maanta & the Urban Nomads will perform a special Eid concert for families at Spring Cafe. Youth who are working on an album with Aar Maanta will make a special guest appearance.


Show Opener: Riverside Wada Jir
This band is a project of The Cedar's Midnimo program as well and is comprised of local Somali musicians and Augsburg University students/recent graduates. They have an album that will be released during our Global Roots Festival in September.