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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

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Oct. 28: Somali Hip Hop Group Waayaha Cusub

Performance will be at the Kato Ballroom.

2016-10-31
Minnesota State University, Mankato Department of Music News Release, 10-12-2016

MANKATO, Minn. – The Minnesota State Mankato Department of  Music Performance Series, in association with The Cedar Cultural Center, will present Somali hip-hop collective Waayaha Cusub on  Friday, Oct. 28 at The Kato Ballroom, 200 Chestnut Street. Doors open at 7 p.m. and the performance starts at 8 p.m. 

Some members of the group now live in Minnesota while other members live in Europe. The original group members will be reunited and will perform live. This marks Waayaha Cusub’s first shows in the U.S. as a full group. Waayaha Cusub, which means "new era," writes about nonviolent pleas for peace and social justice, especially as it relates to their native country. The group will be backed by Minnesota instrumentalists, including St. Paul-based hip-hop group Heiruspecs.    

Waayaha Cusub is part of a program that hopes to increase the understanding of Muslim culture in Minnesota through music and the arts, particularly among millennials. The program, Midnimo, meaning "unity" in Somali, was launched by The Cedar Cultural Center and Augsburg College in 2014. The program has reached more than 12,500 audience members since its launch.

In September, a Minnesota-based consortium of colleges and arts groups received a $500,000 grant from the Association of Performing Arts Presenters Building Bridges: Arts, Culture and Identity program, supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art. The Minnesota consortium consists of The Cedar Cultural Center in Minneapolis, in association with Augsburg College, the Paramount Center for the Arts in St. Cloud, Minn., in association with St. Cloud State University, and the Minnesota State University, Mankato Department of Music Performance Series. Midnimo was one of only five projects funded across the U.S., where a total of about $1.4 million was distributed.

"I am thrilled to be part of this three-year project. Midnimo will create many opportunities for both campus and community members to build meaningful relationships with our Muslim neighbors," said Dale Haefner, Performance Series Director at Minnesota State Mankato. “The arts, and especially music, are an excellent means of communication. Music is a universal language and a universal feature of the human experience.”

The hip-hop collective was founded in Kenya in 2004 by lyricist and rapper Shiine Akhyaar Ali. Ali's message challenges militant and extremist politics. The group has received death threats and experienced violent attacks for speaking out against war, violence and oppressive leaders. The group was given asylum in the Netherlands. They have two albums: "Nabad Waa Muhim," or "Peace is Vital," and Kugu Dhimay Kaa Dhimay. In 2013, Waayaha Cusub established and headlined the first Somali Sunrise Concert Tour for Peace, a series of concerts featuring hip hop, Afrobeat and R&B musicians around East Africa. It was the first music festival in Somalia since the start of the civil war in the early 1990s.

Concert admission for the all ages show is $10 in advance and $15 day of show with free admission with a student ID. Tickets are available at The Kato or online at thecedar.org/midnimo.

For more information, call the Performance Series office, 507-389-5549.

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