From its debut concert, captured live on the 2013 release entitled ASWAN, it was clear that the Nile Project was something completely new. National Public Radio named the recording one of five “Must Hear International Albums.” Fast forward a few years — through tours in Africa, Europe, the US and UAE — and almost all major media outlets agree that the Nile Project is much more than just a band. The New York Times described it as “a committed, euphoric international coalition.” Afropop Worldwide calls it “seductive and beautiful […] nothing short of revolutionary.”
One of the tightest cross-cultural collaborations in musical history, the Nile Project brings together artists from the 11 Nile countries, representing over 450 million people, to compose new songs that combine the rich diversity of one of the oldest places on Earth. Kindred harps and resonant lyres from the river’s sources in East Africa and Ethiopia to its deltas in Sudan and Egypt have reunited to learn new musical modes while buzzing timbres and ingenious polyrhythms support vocals in more than ten languages.
On the surface, the Nile Project blends traditional musical idioms into one seamless Nile sound. But look a little further and you’ll begin to see a 35-member musicians Collective modeling contemporary organizational concepts such as systems thinking, network theory, and participatory leadership. The Nile Project is pioneering a new approach to transform transboundary water conflicts by using music to ignite cross-cultural empathy and spark environmental curiosity. And its collaborative model offers a blueprint for new ways in which Nile citizens can organize themselves to strengthen the sustainability of their river. In an evolving series of interlocking programs that spring from the concert experience, the project works to inspire, educate and empower Nile citizens to collaborate on developing innovative solutions to the challenges at the root of their water conflict.