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Culture on the Coast

The Nile Project

Gathering authentic musical artists from the countries sharing the legendary river, The Nile Project aims to shed awareness on environmental issues through new compilation album, Aswan, featuring seven Egyptian artists, including Dina El Wedidi...

The Nile Project is a one of kind collaboration between 18 artists from six countries that find themselves along the length of the 4,200 mile-long river. It fuses the poly-rhythmic percussion and melodies from Ethiopia to Egypt. Curated by co-producers Miles Jay and Mina Girgis, the project brought the musicians together over 10 days to create original pieces together with lyrics ranging from personal to anthem-like, exploring themes of identity and African solidarity. "We came in as separate musicians, but we're now creating a little orchestra with a new sound – a Nile sound," said Brooklyn-based Sudanese vocalist, Alsarah.

The resulting album was aptly named Aswan, the location that all the tracks were recorded, and has already received rave reviews worldwide. The diverse compilation brings together six vocalists singing in 11 different languages and includes performers from Ethiopia, Eritrea, South Sudan, Sudan and Uganda. From Egypt, the ever-popular Dina El Wedidi, alongside six more traditional Egyptian musicians, joined in the fun. Sticking true to the sounds that are uniquely African, many traditional instruments are showcased throughout the album such as the Sudanese masenkop, Ugandan adungu, and the Egyptian simsimiya, tamboura, ney, and the classic oud.

By using music as their medium and exposing it to local audiences, The Nile Project’s main goal is in fact a environmental one. Bringing all these artists together aims to bring awareness to the work residents of the Nile Basin need to do together to sustain their shared ecosystem. The Nile Project is currently accepting applications for its second annual musical residency, which takes place in Uganda in mid-January 2014. The collective will tour Africa and Europe after this, followed by a trip to North America in 2015.