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Doris Duke Charitable Foundation Celebrates the Success of Midnimo Partnership

Earlier this month, the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation published a spotlight on the Cedar Cultural Center’s Midnimo project.

Midnimo, the Somali word for “unity,” showcased Somali artists from Minnesota and around the world in residencies and events that were designed to increase the public’s understanding of Somali culture through music. The project was launched by the Cedar in 2014 in partnership with Augsburg College by way of the foundation’s Building Bridges: Campus Community Engagement fund.

Below is an excerpt of the profile. Click here to read the full article.

“Over time, the relationships between the Augsburg College students, Somali community members, and visiting artists and audiences have moved forward through the arts, which Dorn calls “a stepping stone” into conversations with new and maybe still unfamiliar neighbors. In the midst of myriad misconceptions and stereotypes about Somalis, Midnimo has provided the platform for often disparate groups to connect and get to know each other in authentic ways. One student trumpeter at Augsburg was moved when a Somali musician told him that “you’re one of us now.” His experience in Midnimo, said the student, had been “the best five months of my life, being able to do this work with the Somali musicians.

The lasting effects of this program extend beyond the students and Somali musicians and into Somali cultural heritage, as well. Early on, the Augsburg Music Department had realized that to best accompany the Somali musicians, they needed to create written sheet music not present in Somali culture. This compelled the Augsburg Music Department to embark on transcribing as much of it as they could, inadvertently beginning a process of documenting and preserving Somalia’s musical tradition for generations to come.”

Photo courtesy of The Cedar Cultural Center.