The Nile Project, a groundbreaking cross-cultural collaboration of artists from the 11 Nile countries, has been on the road in North Carolina, US, for the month of March and will be in Wilmington for a week of cultural exchange starting tomorrow, Saturday 25 March.
The five-day residency by the 13 artists will take fans on a voyage down the Nile, with sounds from Arabic regions like Sudan and Egypt to the river’s source in the East African countries of Kenya, Burundi and Uganda. The result is ingenious polyrhythms and indigenous percussions that support vocals in more than 10 languages.
The programme will consist of concerts, interactive music and dance workshops, public lectures, an art exhibition and panel discussions all geared towards highlighting the role of the Nile River in Africa and the Cape Fear River in Wilmington to their respective communities. It kicks off with a concert on Saturday at 7.30pm at Kenan Auditorium on the campus of the University of North Carolina in Wilmington.
The Nile Project has been organising roadshows since 2011. The group recorded its first album, Aswan, in 2013 and travelled to perform in the US in 2014, followed by Africa and Europe tours. It released Jinja earlier this year. The album captures the magic of traditional songs and traditional instruments like the lute-like tanbour, the Ethiopian krar harp, the Egyptian kawala flute, the Ugandan adungu harp and the Burundian ikembe thumb piano.
Egyptian ethnomusicologist Mina Gigris is the project’s CEO and Andrew Reissiger, who has consulted for radio and documentary, films is the music programme director.
A 35-member musicians collective, The Nile Project addresses the Nile basin's cultural and environmental challenges with an innovative approach that combines music, education and enterprise. Its 2017 US tour continues next month.