The best thing to come down the Nile since the silt that fertilized the delta, the international musical coalition known as The Nile Project hits the road in Egypt this month.
Starting Feb. 6 in Aswan, The Nile Project will bring its effortless-sounding 11-country-spanning fusion to a series of shows in Alexandria, Cairo, and Giza.
There’s a sociological component at play here—one of the project’s goals is to create something like a pan-East African identity through art. Afropop examined the project’s origins in a story last year, and as you’ll hear, our show on the subject had plenty of what’s really important: the fantastic music.
Last year’s American tour featured several musicians who were based in America, and likewise this African tour includes a roster of Africa-based musicians, who bring together the unique musical traditions drawn from the countries in the Nile River basin, including Sudan, South Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Egypt, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi.
The shows we saw on last year’s American tour were fantastic, moving from Ethiopian funk to oud-based interludes. Reflecting the countries that touch what’s generally regarded as the longest river in the world, the music, like the region, is incredibly diverse: Arabic tonalities in the north paired with loping Burundian bass lines; electric guitars playing off the Rwanadan inanga.
If you’re in Egypt over the next month, check out The Nile Project if you have a chance. Because even if you’ve got the Nile River and Egyptian music all around you, you haven’t heard anything like The Nile Project.