This fine Friday brings yet another entry in Paste’s Bands Without Borders series, in which we’re showcasing various at-risk musicians, both in celebration of the diversity that defines our country, and in defiance of our president’s failed attempts at banning immigrants from the United States. Since Trump’s travel ban was first introduced, Bands Without Borders has seen Alsarah & The Nubatones, Emel Mathlouthi, Yasmine Hamdan and Bassel & The Supernaturals put on vital, politically charged Paste Studio performances, and today we are honored to host the singular artist collective that is The Nile Project.
The Nile Project is the furthest thing from your average band. As their official bio explains:
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.
“The Nile Project is more than a band,” said Kenyan percussionist/vocalist and Nile Project musician Kasiva Mutua in a statement. “This is something completely new. The way we combine collaboration and education is revolutionary—not only here at home in the Nile River but everywhere we’ve been.” It’s safe to say that, tonight, we’ll bear witness to a performance the likes of which the Paste Studio has never seen.
Here’s when you can expect to see the show:
- 6:15 p.m. EST: The Nile Project @ Paste Studio, Live
Tune in on Paste’s Facebook page here, keep an eye on our feed here for any scheduling updates, find The Nile Project’s core lineup below and learn more about their mission here.
Adel Mekha: A widely respected Nubian percussionist and vocalist based in Cairo, Mekha’s knowledge of traditional Nubian rhythms and an expressive singing voice have brought him work with a wide range of ensembles and projects.
Ahmed Omar: Born in Libya to an Eritrean father and Egyptian mother, it is no surprise that mixing cultures has become part of Omar’s creative output. Today, he plays bass for several leading Egyptian bands and organizes the AfriCairo festival and music project.
Asia Madani: A Sudanese vocalist and percussionist residing in Cairo, Madani grew up surrounded by music with a father that played oud and a professional percussionist as a brother. She is a captivating performer who has appeared at many international festivals.
Dave Otieno: One of Kenya’s leading guitarists, Otieno is fluent in the Benga style common to the Lake Victoria region. He has toured throughout Africa and Europe and recently performed at the Folklife Festival at the Smithsonian, Washington D.C.
Ibrahim Fanous: An Eritrean kraar player and vocalist based in London, Fanous began his vocal training at a young age in Eastern Sudan in three different languages—Arabic, Tegrenia and Amharic. He performs internationally throughout North Africa and Europe.
Kasiva Mutua: Kenyan percussionist and singer Mutua may have learned drumming from her grandmother, but has developed her own knack for powerful beats. One of Kenya’s leading drummers, her expressive playing can tell a story on its own, or keep a band perfectly in the pocket.
Micheal Bazibu: A member of Uganda’s leading traditional music and dance company, Ndere, for the past 17 years, Bazibu plays several traditional Ugandan stringed and percussion instruments with virtuosic grace.
Mohamed Abozekry: Despite his tender years, this Egyptian oud player has a stunning command of his instrument, as well as an open ear for other forms, skills that got him a recent album deal with Harmonia Mundi.
Nader El Shaer: Born in the culturally rich town of Port Said, Egypt, El Shaer taught himself accordion and ney, only to fall in love with the tones of the kawala (end-blown cane flute) and its role in Arabic classical music.
Saleeb Fawzy: Born in Minya, Egypt, vocalist and percussionist Fawzy has a deep knowledge of coptic church hymns and has toured throughout Europe and the Arab world. He is currently working on Tawasol project, helping people to learn through art.
Selamnesh Zemene: Hailing from a long line of unique culture bearers in Northern Ethiopia, this young singer has brought her traditions to collaborations with indie darlings like Debo Band and The Ex.
Steven “Sogo” Irambona: Born in Burundi, Steven Irambona started to play the guitar and sing at an early age. He is a World Bank Musical Ambassador for Burundi and a popular voice of the people. Irambona has lived in exile in the USA since 2015.