The Nile Project has brought together 13 artists from Kenya, Uganda, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Sudan, Burundi and Egypt for a two-week residency in El Gouna, Egypt, to collaborate on composing new music. The residency commenced on 9 October and will come to a close with two live concerts, in El Gouna on 19 October and at the Darb 1718 cultural centre in Cairo on 20 October.
The artists will also attend a percussion workshop in Darb 1718 on 21 October. The cross-cultural music collaborations will include a three-month tour of the United States. London-based kirar player and vocalist Ibrahim Fanous as well as Eritrean-Egyptian Ahmed Omar are among the artists selected to participate.
Fanous, who was born in January 1975 in Kassala, a state in eastern Sudan, began his vocal training at a young age in three different languages —Arabic, Tegrenia and Amharic. Fanous has performed internationally throughout North Africa and Europe.
Omar was born in Libya to an Eritrean father and Egyptian mother. Currently Ahmed plays bass for leading Egyptian bands such as Senet, El Dor El Awal, Beshir and Wust El Balad. Ahmed has also organized the AfriCairo Music Festival and is a partner and manager at the Wust El Balad recording studio.
The other artists involved in this year’s project include: Afework Nigussie and Selamnesh Zemene of Ethiopia, Kenya’s Kasiva Mutua, Micheal Bazibu from Uganda and Burundi’s Steven Sogo. Representing the host country will be Adel Mekha, Asia Madani, Mohamed Abozekry, Nader El Shaer and Saleeb Fawzy.
Mina Girgis, Nile Project producer and CEO, noted that for the first time there will be no musical director. “In the past, we’ve always had a musical director to facilitate our creative process. This year, we’re experimenting with having no musical director,” Girgis explained.
Since its first gathering in January 2013, the Nile Project Collective has grown to feature 35 musicians from the 11 countries sharing the Nile River.
For more information visit the Nile Project website.