By Pamela Espeland
Until early last week, no one knew for certain if Nimco Yasin would make it to her monthlong Midnimo residency in Minnesota. Happily, she was cleared for travel a week ago and arrived yesterday. Midnimo, the Somali word for “unity,” is a joint project of the Cedar and Augsburg College that brings leading Somali singers and musicians to Minnesota for workshops, class visits and education programs, discussions, and performances. Yasin was once a member of the Waaberi Group, Somalia’s government-sponsored music and dance troupe that toured the world multiple times. She fled Somalia to the UK in 1989 and has rebuilt her career. She’ll give her first workshop tonight. Public finale performances – collaborations with Minneapolis-based keyboardist deVon Gray and a group of jazz and pop musicians assembled by him – will take place Friday, March 31, at the Cedar; Saturday, April 9, in Mankato; and Saturday, April 15, in St. Cloud. FMI. Cali Dhaanto, a Somali artist living in Sweden who was also scheduled for the Midnimo residency, wasn’t as fortunate. His visa was denied.