A Somali music star's MN tour is canceled because of visa delays

A month of concerts and education were planned.
Author:
Updated:
Original:

A musician who's been called the "Somali voice of his generation" has canceled a month-long residency in Minnesota because he hasn't been able to get a visa to travel here.

Aar Maanta and his London-based band The Urban Nomads were booked for a series of workshops, college classroom visits, and concerts. 

They were scheduled to start in Mankato on Wednesday and continue in Minneapolis and St. Cloud later in October. It's part of a program founded by Augsburg University and the Cedar Cultural Center to improve understanding of Somali culture through music. 

A statement from the Cedar Cultural Center in Minneapolis announced the cancellation. It says the four other members of The Urban Nomads – who are neither Somali nor Muslim – were able to get visas from their consulate.

But Maanta's request remains in a category tagged for "additional administrative processing."

"It's extremely disappointing"

In the Cedar's statement Maanta says he's being singled out and discriminated against by the consulate. 

"It is heartbreaking to know that systematic discriminatory rules like the ‘Muslim ban’ put into practice in this day and age are affecting not only me but people in far more vulnerable situations,” he said. “It’s extremely disappointing for my band and me to lose weeks of work that we have been meticulously planning for months.”

Two previous visits

Similar visa delays caused Maanta to cancel an appearance at the Cedar in 2011, the Pioneer Press reported then

But the following year he arrived for a residency that included youth workshops on songwriting and poetry which the cultural center says were a great success. 

It led to the 2014 creation of an annual program called Midnimo, which is the Somali word for unity. Aar Maanta returned to the Twin Cities for the 2015 Midnimo, with workshops, classroom visits, and pop-up shows leading to a sold-out concert at the Cedar. 

Midnimo beyond the Twin Cities

Last year's Midnimo was expanded to include St. Cloud and Mankato, both of which have growing Somali communities. 

A faculty member at Minnesota State University, Mankato had students in his History of Christianity, Jadaism, and Islam class preparing for this month's visit from Maanta.

Jameel Haque said in the Cedar's statement: “The lost opportunity to attend the events scheduled for this week, community events which provide a rare and desperately needed space for cross-cultural interaction in rural Minnesota, is a loss that will have deep consequences for the future of my students and my community."

Next Up

Flickr - state capitol minneosta - Ken Lund

Criminal charges possible for woman who drove on State Capitol grounds

She drove on the sidewalk and lawn, and at one point waved a large "Trump 2020" flag out the window.

training camp

10 things fans should know before going to Vikings training camp

Masks are not required, but strongly encouraged for the unvaccinated.

4852014184_b86eb6b123_k

Cases of COVID-19 linked to Provincetown outbreak found in Minnesota

There have been more than 550 cases linked to the Massachusetts tourist destination since the 4th of July weekend.

Aaron Rodgers

Reports: Aaron Rodgers set for at least one more year with the Packers

Both sides showing signs of optimism just before training camp begins.

Twitter - KARE 11 jeopardy screengrab

KARE 11 crew teases upcoming 'Jeopardy!' cameo

Some familiar local faces will be providing contestants with "Minneapolis News" clues.

Screen Shot 2021-07-26 at 1.41.24 PM

Second victim of deadly crash in Orono is identified

The crash also was fatal for the son of Gophers hockey coach Bob Motzko.

Witzmann and Coleman

Ex-Viking and ex-Gopher could be contestants for Edina's 'Bachelorette'

Michelle Young, a teacher from Edina, is the show's Season 18 star.

Mayo clinic

Mayo Clinic will require COVID-19 vaccines for all its staff

Those who decline will be required to wear masks and socially distance while on campus.

John Thompson

Rep. John Thompson once again rejects calls to resign

He spoke briefly Monday morning at a press conference organized by his supporters.

Related

Minnesota soul man Sonny Knight cancels tour to fight cancer

Knight says he's taking April and May off for chemo, but plans to resume touring in June.

Minnesota soul man Sonny Knight cancels tour to fight cancer

Knight says he's taking April and May off for chemo, but plans to resume touring in June.

Music in the Zoo

2020 Music in the Zoo season canceled due to coronavirus

It's the first time it's been canceled in its history.

Linkin Park cancels tour following lead singer's death

Chester Bennington ended his life earlier this week.

Photos: The music of Warped Tour 2017

Over 60 acts performed in Shakopee as part of the traveling music festival.