The same people who brought you Nawaya and Mashrou’ Mareekh, are bringing you the Nile Project, set to launch this January and last until 2016. Nahdet El Mahrousa’s Nile Project will launch its first major event from Aswan on 10 January.
The project was founded by Egyptian ethnomusicologist Mina Girgis and Ethiopian-American singer Meklit Hadero and is currently being incubated by Nahdet El Mahrousa.
“The idea came from getting exposed to Ethiopian music in San Francisco, which had me thinking that I had to go all the way to San Francisco from Egypt to hear it,” said Girgis, cofounder and executive director of the Nile Project and cofounder of Nahdet El-Mahrousa.
“We need to first develop cultural empathy and avenues of dialogue and expose the people who live on the same river. We do this through music in order to humanise and simplify realities that are complex,” he said.
The first event, titled the Nile Gathering, takes place at the Fekra Cultural Centre in Aswan, from 10 to 29 January. The Nile Gathering will encompass a four-day strategic planning workshop from 10 to 14 January followed by a two-week music residency from 15 to 29 January.
Other programmes include Nile Tour, Nile Stories, TEDxNile, Nile Curriculum and the Nile Enterprise Platform. The Nile tour is a trip from the Mediterranean to Aswan in 35 days by select artists who will engage local communities along the way, with workshops and concerts.
“The project starts with music but then goes on to include educational and cultural initiatives. If interest is piqued, the conversation flows from geopolitics to the environment and culture, and it becomes something that not just politicians discuss but that directly affects our lives,” said Girgis.
Nile Stories will be a web-based dialogue platform where citizens from the 11 Nile basin countries can share points of views on the river and how it connects them. Nile Camps are annual summer camps for young musicians from the 11 countries, while Nile Curriculum is the project’s educational initiative, which focuses on the Nile river ecology and explores the histories, cultures and ecosystems of the Nile basin area.
The famous TEDx initiative is coming to the Nile project with a conference that features scientists and artists focusing on issues that affect the Nile basin.
Finally, the Nile Enterprise Platform and Fellowship Programme will aim to divert everything that has been gathered into tangible actions. The project will partner with social enterprise organisations in this phase to train African youth to develop solutions to the problems present in the Nile basin area today.
The project has been calling for participants for their first event, with application submissions ending today. The project will go on until 2016 and more specific dates of further events will be announced as they near.