Somaliland: TV’s Juliette Foster and Aar Maanta on Globalization of Local Music


Aar Maanta among top upcoming new generation  of Somali Musicians

By Ahmed Abdi

Somalilandsun -Aar Maanta Talks with TV’s Juliette Foster about local Somali music and its globalization. Below is the transcription of the interview.

Arise Juliette Foster : Now, He’s been described as exemplary individual for attempting to introduce the World to the beautiful sound of Somali Music. Aar Maanta’s efforts have already won him a huge following that started getting even bigger when he performs at October’s Africa Day celebrations in London’s Trafalgar Square.But Aar spent on music all his life , but his family given him their way, he might ended up as a scientist -Laugh, he joins at having us to the studio – right, Good morning to you? Which brought to science to your studying ? Aar Maanta: I actually did Sport science , so mostly physiology,anatomy and things to do with the body. Juliette Foster: Right, you would have been in the World with Sports rather than music ? Aar Maanta: Yeah, So it wasn’t as bad as being in a laboratory. Juliette Foster: Laugh, Some musicians feel fusion between science and music ,but I guess, it depends on which branch of science you study. Aar Maanta: Yeah, I mean em , It is quite, it is very, very different to musics ,you know, to what we are doing as sport scientist-learning about the anatomying, the hearten and how physiology and respiratory systems , you know, that kind of stuff, you know, is completely different . Juliette Foster: But it sounds , there is frames who pressure there, because there are so many musicians that may be minority background , when they want to be musicians, there is a lot of pressure from parents and who say, oh my gooch! that is not a proper job, so some of them drop out of it completely or they did so-called proper job for a while and then they went back to music. Aar Maanta: Initially ,I was doing a degree in a music after the first year, there was so many, I used to get calls from some relatives that I even haven’t heard of forever. Asking me question like these : “I can’t believe that you are wasting your degree on music it is your only chance now, you have to do something really beneficial for you, your community and your family.’ You have to do something else that you will enjoy. How about just doing sport? how about something to do with sport such as sport scientist and go and learn physiology and I added that in the end and I managed to get a good degree and made my family members quite happy. But eventually, I had to come back to music because that where my passion was . Juliette Foster: Yeah, and you have always been surrounded by, you’ve going out with music even before performing music at for a long time.
Aar Maanta: Somalis are known for the poetry and love music as well,which is quite strange , they actually love, before the war of the early 1990s, there were many bands that were really popular with my immediate family and people loved to listen these songs,yet they don’t want their children or family members being like part of musics so it is quite, a little bit contradiction. But I’m slowly winning over members of my family specially, my mother who I respect. Juliette Foster: It’s fantastic ! But the thing is you’ve built up huge following ,people listen to your music not just Somalis but also other nationalities as well. But I mean, If you had to describe it, you’ve got purity of Somali tradition, but if there are also other elements you’ve managed to infuse on to this, what are they? Aar Maanta: With Somali singing , the songs have to be , you have to on, there is a time on it , the way of your writing of Somali songs , if you begin a song with S then you have to continue starting with that, and still you have to rhyme, so I still follow that time on it tradition, but in terms of music I have so many influences most of live that I have liven in London, so musically wherever influences me around, in the UK , in the West , you know,I have been that element in to it but directly it’s to stay in Somali tradition because if you try to introduce something else , people back in Horn of Africa or even the Somalis in the West they will not take it seriously. Juliette Foster: Yeah,who is your music written and performed for, is it largely for the Somali audience or do you want be global with it, to reach out to everybody? Aar Maanta: Initially, it was mostly for Somali audience, but I took part this year Omar festival and that for a wider audience and the reaction was quite positive so the music I was making before was more digital because that’s what Somali audiences or most African audiences tempt to prefer, but em the wider audience or people who like African Music , who are not necessarily African , temp like a lot of music, so what I am trying to introduce my next project, I am actually ganna recording a new album soon and that ganna be a life music so I want to try this, a wider audience. Juliette Foster: Corresponding to your account, you mentioned with warmer to perform in Minneapolis, I know you have very negative experience that you tried to tackle with your music, so what happened? Aar Maanta: What happen was , Somali tempted to travel quite a lot because there is a big Somali community outside of Horn of Africa , so people are always traveling ,em visiting their families and so on. Because of that, they are targeted whatever reason, because of the security issues and I had a visa issued before where , we were accepted to go and performing in Minneapolis, but unfortunately,even though I was a band leader my visa was kind of like, refused. Even though the other bands of my members who are not Somalis were actually accepted, it’s kind of like,it did make sense, in my point of view. But It’s not just America , the issue was, it also the UK .Every time I used to come back, traveling wherever , even as , you know as closest as European destinations of UK. The border agencies of UK really, really interrogate me , sometimes keeping me. for like hours , you know, I am British citizen, it is quite strange, you actually treated like that. So it is one Video that you shown a little bit earlier ,where I really enacted exactly how it happen, what tempted to happen. Juliette Foster: So, but suddenly it has been stacking music and hopefully people get the message what you doing also, get into this music because it is really quite stunning as beautiful to listen to.
Aar Maanta: Thank you. Juliette Foster: Sadly, time goes against us , but thank you for joining us and good luck and we looking having for you on the Africa Day celebrations . Aar Maanta: Thank you Juliette Foster: Thank you