Adel Mekha


The Nile Project was set up in 2011 by the singer Meklit Hadero and the ethnomusicologist Mina Girgis. The music group of the same name was launched two years later in order to raise awareness of the organisation’s work and to carry the message that cooperation between different nationalities and religions can help to make a collective goal possible. The ensemble, which consists of a pool of more than 30 people, brings together musicians from all 11 countries of the Nile’s river basin. Their first performance was recorded and brought out on the album Aswan, named after the city in Egypt where the river is dammed. This debut was received with enthusiasm. The New York Times described the group as a ‘committed, euphoric international coalition’. The various cultures represented in the group each have their own voice. Amid this diversity, the collective aims for a coherent sound. That is all the more remarkable since various musicians have built up a career outside the group and are powerful artistic personalities. Meklit Hadero, born in Ethiopia and raised in the United States, where she studied political science, combines jazz and East African influences in her music. Bass guitarist Ahmed Omar was born in Libya of an Eritrean father and Egyptian mother. He plays in prominent Egyptian bands and manages a recording studio. The young Egyptian singer and actress Dina El Wedidi has mastered classical and Arabic folk traditions and in 2012 became the protégé of the legendary Brazilian guitarist and composer Gilberto Gil, who has performed with her and collaborated on her debut album. The ensemble’s first studio album, Jinja, was released at the beginning of 2017 and is named after the city in Uganda where the Nile has its source.