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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

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April 2-8: Somali Artist Nimco Yasin in Residency

Residency will conclude with April 8 finale concert.

Minnesota State University, Mankato Department of Music News Release, 3-19-2017

Mankato, Minn. -- The Minnesota State Mankato Performance Series will feature London-based Somali singer Nimco Yasin (pronounced NIH-moh Yah-SEEN) in a series of community and classroom residency events April 2 through April 8.

A finale concert will take place on Saturday, April 8 at 7:30 p.m. with Nimco Yasin (pictured) and also featuring Iskalaji and special guest Rahmo Rose. The concert will take place at the South Central College Conference Center, 1920 Lee Boulevard, North Mankato.

General admission concert admission is $15 in advance and $20 the day of the concert. Admission is free for anyone with any student ID. Those who wish to purchase tickets online should go to For more information, call the Performance Series office, (507) 389-5549.

Other public events during Yasin's Mankato residency include:

  • "Meet and greet" session with community Somali and non-Somali women from 7-9 p.m. Tuesday, April 4 at the Somali Community Barwaaqo Organization (227 E. Main Str., Mankato). The event will be facilitated by Fardousa Jama, and the discussion will center on the empowerment of women and other issues facing the participants.
  • "Meet and greet" game night from 7-9 p.m. Wednesday, April 5 in Minnesota State Mankato's Centennial Student Union. The event will be facilitated by Minnesota State Mankato faculty members Dale Haefner and David Gadberry and Somali Student Association Vice President Abdul Aziz. Yasin will meet with students from the Somali Student Association and other students at Minnesota State Mankato. In addition, students and Yasin will participate in the traditional Somali board game, Landu.

This project is made possible in part by a grant from the Association of Performing Arts Professionals; and Building Bridges: Arts Culture and Identity, a component of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art.

“I am excited to be part of this three-year project,” said Dale Haefner, performance series director at Minnesota State Mankato. “Midnimo will create many opportunities for both campus and community members to build meaningful relationships with our Somali neighbors. The arts, and especially music, are an excellent means of communication and a way to create bridges to cultural understanding. Music is a universal language and a universal feature of the human experience.”

The upcoming weeklong residency is the first installment of five planned Midnimo residencies taking place through spring 2019. The first residency event in April will include opportunities for community members and elementary through college age students to participate in workshops, class visits and educational programs, discussions, and performances.

Nimco Yasin rose to fame as part of a member of the legendary Waaberi Group in the 1980s. Waaberi Group, or “Dawn Players,” was Somalia’s government-sponsored music and dance troupe that included the most talented singers, musicians, and dancers in the country. With more than 300 members over its 30-year existence, the group was a source of national pride and toured the world multiple times.

Because of their status, artists were among the first to be impacted by increasing political instability in Somalia in the late 80s. Yasin fled Somalia to the UK in 1989, shortly before the onset of civil war, which nearly wiped out the country’s rich artistic traditions. Since then, Yasin has rebuilt her career as a professional artist. Known for her striking voice and emotional love ballads, Yasin eloquently revives the vintage qaraami (or “Somali jazz”) sound that Waaberi was known for, while bringing it into a modern context.

Midnimo, the Somali word for "unity," is a program that features the world's leading Somali artists in residencies and events that increase understanding of Somali culture through the arts. Launched by The Cedar Cultural Center in collaboration with Augsburg College in 2014, the program has now presented seven successful residencies and expanded throughout the state in partnership with the Minnesota State University, Mankato Department of Music Performance Series; The Paramount Center for the Arts in St. Cloud; and St. Cloud State University. Midnimo is playing a role in building intercultural unity and understanding in Minnesota, an area home to the largest Somali immigrant population in North America.

About Minnesota State University, Mankato and the Department of Music Performance Series

  • Minnesota State University, Mankato’s mission is to promote learning through effective undergraduate and graduate teaching, scholarship, and research in service to the state, the region and the global community. The Minnesota State University, Mankato Department of Music Performance Series is dedicated to promoting music and education in all of its cultural and stylistic diversity. This is done through the sponsorship and presentation of concerts, master classes and clinics. The Performance Series serves as an educational link between our campus, regional schools and the community.

About The Cedar Cultural Center

  • The Cedar’s mission is to promote intercultural appreciation and understanding through the presentation of global music and dance. The Cedar is committed to artistic excellence and integrity, diversity of programming, support for emerging artists, and community outreach.

About Augsburg College

  • Augsburg College offers more than 50 undergraduate majors and nine graduate degrees to more than 3,600 students of diverse backgrounds at its campus in the vibrant center of the Twin Cities and the Rochester site. Augsburg educates students to be informed citizens, thoughtful stewards, critical thinkers, and responsible leaders. An Augsburg education is defined by excellence in the liberal arts and professional studies, guided by the faith and values of the Lutheran church, and shaped by its urban and global settings.

About Paramount Center for the Arts

  • Paramount Center for the Arts is a comprehensive arts organization featuring a beautiful 806-seat theater, a complex of arts studios and an education outreach department. It is located in downtown St. Cloud, providing opportunities for artistic production, creative exploration, arts education and the enjoyment of arts and entertainment.

About St. Cloud State University

  • St. Cloud State University prepares students for life, work, and citizenship in the 21st century. Key elements of a St. Cloud State education are active and applied learning, community engagement, sustainability, and global and cultural understanding/accessibility.

About the Association of Performing Arts Professionals

  • The Association of Performing Arts Professionals is the national service, advocacy and membership organization for presenters of the performing arts. The Association of Performing Arts Professionals is dedicated to developing and supporting a robust performing arts industry and the professionals who work within it. APAP|NYC conference information, APAP membership information, Twitter @APAP365, Facebook

About the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation

  • The mission of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation is to improve the quality of people's lives through grants supporting the performing arts, environmental conservation, medical research and child well-being, and through preservation of the cultural and environmental legacy of Doris Duke's properties. The Arts Program of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation focuses its support on contemporary dance, jazz and theatre artists, and the organizations that nurture, present and produce them. For more information, please visit

About the Building Bridges Program


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