At the Nile Gathering, a two-week music residency brought together an ensemble of Nile basin musicians to compose, record and perform new music that can inspire cultural and environmental curiosity.
With so rich a pool of instruments and traditions to choose from while curating our first Nile Project ensemble, we have looked at timbres, local roles, regional relatives, linguistic etymology and connections to the Nile.
We encouraged our musicians to gain a deeper sense of the various cultural aesthetics represented in the ensemble. Each musician was featured as a teacher of their tradition and instrument to the ensemble. Thus, in creating the music, the merging of styles took place closer to the roots of those traditions, rather than simply superimposing one system over another. Each musician brought to the ensemble the spirit of openness, a willingness to share knowledge and an appetite to learn from their fellow ensemble members – a microcosm of what the Nile Project stands for.
Two initial concert were produced immediately after the residency in Egypt to expose local audiences to the cultures of their river neighbors and present the Nile Project ensemble and its new music for the first time. Hundreds of audience members flocked to the concerts in Aswan and Cairo and the overwhelming feedback was a great testament to the power of musical and cultural dialogue. The Nile Project is currently working on a short documentary, an Africa tour, a UK, Europe and US tour, in parallel with programs such as TEDxNile, Nile Camps, Nile Curriculum, Nile Stories and Nile Fellowship & Enterprise. Find out more about Nile Project musicians here and programs here.
Commissioned by Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts for Target Free Thursdays at the David Rubenstein Atrium.