KEYC - Visa Delay Cancels Activities Set For Somali Musician

Visa Delay Cancels Activities Set For Somali Musician

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Aar Maanta was scheduled to perform and tour Mankato this week, but currently isn't even in the country.

A music video is the closest experience residents of Mankato will get to hear of this international performer.

Aar Maanta is presently in London where he resides and is part of the Urban Nomads, a band in which he is the only Somali.

Maanta previously traveled to Minnesota in 2012 and 2015, with weeklong residencies that enabled him to perform for the Somali community and others in Minneapolis.

But this year, while the other four members had their visas approved, Maanta is still waiting for his, which has caused the cancelation of activities that were planned this week.

Consultant Fardousa Jama said "The importance of his presence in Mankato would've been deeply appreciated. He would've been able to talk about a lot of things that us immigrants who live here aren't able to talk about."

Originally, Maanta was to arrive in Mankato last Sunday, participating in community events and visiting schools around the city.

He would've ended his week in Mankato on Saturday, hosting a concert at South Central College.

MSU Assistant Professor of Music Education David Gadberry said "We missed out a big opportunity to bring our students and our larger community members together."

Maanta is part of "Midnimo", a Somali word for unity and a program that present's the world's leading Somali artists to communities and events that help increase the understanding of Somali culture.

This year St. Cloud and Mankato were added to the list.

MSU Performance Series Director Dale Haefner said "In fact, the younger generation has never heard live Somali music and this would've given them an opportunity to experience that."

It's unclear when or if Maanta will get approval for his residency for the rest of his predicted one month stay.

Organizers are hoping to reschedule Maanta for April.

- KEYC 12