Loading...
We'll know when ECU main campus is serious about their no smoking policy when certain grounds and facilities staff...

More than a band: Musicians seek to bring harmony to Africa's water conflicts

033117gonileprojectgirgis
1 of 4

Mina Girgis, producer and CEO of The Nile Project.

033117gonileproject
033117gonileproject2
033117gonileproject3
Loading…

Kim Grizzard

Friday, March 31, 2017

On the surface, it might seem that all these countries have in common is the river that runs through them.

The 11 nations that make up Africa’s Nile River Basin represent some of the poorest countries in the world. Home to more than 450 million people, they are rich in culture — and in conflict, including some that arise from the water itself.

The Nile Project, launched in 2011, is an attempt to help bring harmony to the region through music. Thirty-five musicians, performing songs in 10 languages, blend their cultures’ unique musical styles in an effort to set the stage for cooperation that transcends sound.

“The Nile Project is different things for different people,” Mina Girgis, producer and chief executive officer of The Nile Project, said. “In its simplest form, it is a collaboration among citizens of the 11 Nile countries to work on a solution to one of the challenges facing the Nile sustainability. In the case of the music, it’s musicians that are collaborating to make music that inspires cultural curiosity and environmental understanding of the issues facing the different countries.”

In its first five years, members of the project not only performed 85 concerts during tours of three continents, they also conducted 130 workshops on issues ranging from environmental to cultural and social problems.

The project’s 2017 U.S. tour includes stops at five campuses within the University of North Carolina system. The Nile Project is scheduled to arrive Wednesday at East Carolina University for the first of more than a dozen concerts, workshops and discussions planned as part of the group’s four-day residency. These include a presentation for area elementary and middle school students and a concert to conclude the S. Rudolph Alexander Performing Arts Series season, both scheduled for April 7.

Playing to American and European audiences was not what Girgis had in mind when he conceived the idea for The Nile Project six years ago. Girgis, whose background is in ethnomusicology (the study of music in its cultural context), had just returned to San Francisco following a visit to his native Egypt that came during the uprising of 2011. Attending an Ethiopian concert with a friend, he began to consider how music might be an effective means to start a conversation about water issues in countries surrounding the Nile River. The first musicians’ gathering was held in 2013, and the group began its African tour the next year.

“The motivation for this project was not to bring it to the United States,” said Girgis, who has a bachelor’s degree in hospitality administration from Florida State University. “It was mainly to have it perform in Africa to the people from these different countries.”

For the first performances, musicians set sail on the river, presenting concerts and sustainability workshops in eight cities across five countries along the Nile.

“There’s an upstream downstream dynamic, conflict over water allocation among the 11 countries,” Girgis explained. “When you look at the possible solutions to that problem, you can realize that the efforts of governments will not solve the water scarcity problem. The solution is to find creative approaches to using this water better and that would require involvement of more than governments.

“There is a lot of cultural isolation among the countries sharing the river,” he said. “The music that we’re making helps the Nile as a watershed and helps people see the cultural connection that these countries share.”

Four the current tour, 12 musicians from seven countries share the stage, performing a medley of African musical styles, including traditional, dance and religious songs.

“You can call it fusion because we combine different musical traditions from the different countries, different rhythms, different scales, different playing styles,” Girgis said. “We kind of visit a lot of different territories in one performance.”

Instruments range from Egyptian flutes and Sudanese harps to keyboards and electric guitars.

“The music is fantastic and critically acclaimed,” said Michael Crane, associate dean of the College of Fine Arts and Communication. “People should attend the concert just for the novelty, complexity and diversity of the music.”

Off stage, the project includes a partnership with half a dozen universities in Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania that is designed to bring together students to collaborate on solving river sustainability challenges.

In Greenville, discussions surrounding The Nile Project residency will include representatives of the North Carolina Conservation Network and Sound Rivers in addition to water issues experts from ECU.

“It’s very easy to draw comparisons to issues that face everyone, like water rights, safety and sustainability,” Crane said.

While water issues in North Carolina may seem to have little in common with those encountered in parts of Africa, Girgis said conversations about the Nile often uncover parallels to other regions.

“It’s a good opportunity to get people from the local community to reflect on their context and see how different it is and how similar it is to other parts of the world,” he said. “... We definitely have opened many people’s eyes to their roles in water sustainability, and a lot of people are realizing they can be much more involved in sustainability of their river than they thought.”

For more information, visit nileproject.org.

Loading…

Humans of Greenville

@HumansofGville

Local photographer Joe Pellegrino explores Greenville to create a photographic census of its people.

Look

June 23, 2018

SERVICES

■ Burney’s Chapel Free Will Baptist Church, 2628 VOA Site B Road, will have its annual women’s day service at 11 a.m. Sunday.

■ Clemon’s Grove Holiness Church, 3816 Sheppard Mill Road, Stokes, will have a women’s day service at 11 a.m. Sunday with Evangelist Maxine…

June 22, 2018

Q My fiance and I are getting married in my family’s hometown and my parents are hosting (and paying for) the wedding. My family are minimal drinkers though not opposed to some drinking. My fiance’s large extended family is accustomed to weddings with full open bars.

My parents’…

Carolyn Hax

June 22, 2018

TODAY

Palace abuzz

Tryon Palace, 529 S. Front St., New Bern, is celebrating National Pollinator Week through Sunday. Free pollinator-themed events are sponsored by the Duke Energy Foundation. A pollinator garden tour will be held at 10 a.m. today. Tour the Palace gardens to see favorite pollinator…

062218gopic

June 22, 2018

Capsules of movies playing locally. New releases are indicated with an asterisk.

AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR — The Avengers and their allies must be willing to sacrifice everything in an attempt to defeat the powerful Thanos before his blitz of devastation and ruin puts an end to the universe.…

061518tag

June 22, 2018

The inaugural East Carolina Piano Festival will bring internationally acclaimed artists and promising young pianists to eastern North Carolina.

The event will feature three public concerts by the faculty and guest artists, as well as free concerts by the Young Artist Program participants.

The first…

June 22, 2018

Summer months are quieter on ECU’s campus as most students head home during the break between semesters. But at A.J. Fletcher Recital Hall, the music never stops.

So far this summer, the music center has hosted the Summer Chamber Music Institute, Summer Band Camp and Summer Jazz Camp. Still…

062218gopiano1

June 22, 2018

Auditions

Whirligig Stage, 628 S. Pitt St., will host auditions for the comedy “Boeing Boeing” by Marc Camoletti from 1-4 p.m. Saturday. The general age range for the cast of characters is mid 20s-30s for air hostesses and 30s to early 40s for men. Performances are scheduled for Sept.…

062218datebook

June 22, 2018

“Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom”

Science fiction is close to becoming reality: Paleontologists have extracted DNA from dinosaur bones and now have the ability to clone a giant prehistoric lizard. What kid — or kid in a grownup’s body — wouldn’t buy a ticket to go…

062218jurassicworld

June 20, 2018

Q: Do you have suggestions for a diet to prevent calcium oxalate kidney stones? I have been getting conflicting information. — E.L., Greenville

A: I am pleased that Kara Massotti will answer your question. Kara returns to Greenville from her dietetic internship and master’s in nutrition…

June 20, 2018

Q I am afraid I may be a controlling mom of my young adult daughter, but we have a dynamic in which she seeks me out often, solicits my advice, and makes me too important in her life. I admit to offering that advice because it is hard for me to draw a line between healthy support and presence, and…

Carolyn Hax
324 stories in Look. Viewing 1 through 10.
«First Page   «Previous Page        
Page 1 of 33
        Next Page»   Last Page»