The forward-thinking musicians of all 11 Nile countries channel the unsung beauty of East African traditions. In the collective’s collaborative compositions, resonant harps and lyres from up and down the river have learned new musical modes, while buzzing timbres and ingenious polyrhythms support vocals in more than ten languages.
To a traditionalist, the Nile Project might look like an ungainly mélange: a gathering of musicians from the 11 countries of the Nile basin, playing instruments that weren’t made to share a stage or a song. They included an Egyptian wooden flute, an oud, African harps, a thumb piano, a saxophone.
The musicians had worked out the nuances of modes and rhythms to join one another’s songs, no longer separated by geography or politics. Some of the music showed roots in Arabic culture, some in East African polyrhythms; the words were in various languages, the voices gentle or declamatory or cutting. The Nile Project is the performing side of an effort that also includes education in music and environmental issues, raising awareness of the entire Nile basin as an ecosystem.
Designed to captivate local audiences but feel equally accessible to international listeners, the Nile Project uses music to inspire curiosity about and active engagement with the cultural, social, and environmental challenges of the world’s longest river. The Collective’s collaborative model is a blueprint for a new way to organize the Nile.
Pre-show discussion at 7:00 PM in the Gallery available to ticket purchasers at no extra charge. Space is limited – please arrive early to guarantee entrance.