The Nile Project

Participants in the Nile Project posing with musical instruments

“… the Nile Project [is] a committed, euphoric international coalition.”
“… the Nile Project was a superb example of what I call small-world music, of what happens to traditions in the information age.”
Jon Pareles, NYT

The Nile Project was conceived by Egyptian ethnomusicologist Mina Girgis and Ethiopian American singer Meklit Hadero in 2011. Their mission is to “educate, inspire, and empower the citizens of the Nile basin to foster the sustainability of the Nile River’s ecosystem.” The main component of the project is music; they are working to approach the issues of water politics and cultural conflict in the area through musical collaboration. The Nile Project, consisting of a dozen musicians from every country bordering the Nile River, primarily takes place in North Africa (they held their first meeting and concert in Aswan, Cairo, Addis Ababa, and Kampala); but the musicians will be touring through the US to share the fruit of their 3-year long collaboration at universities as well as the Lincoln Center and the Smithsonian Institute in 2015-2016. BU will be their first stop in their New England tour.

The Nile Project’s first recording Aswan was named among NPR’s Top Must-Hear International albums of 2013: “the results are joyous and even raucous…you can hear just how much fun the crowd is having — and how tight the band is, even as their instrumental multitudes adeptly combine everything from indigenous instruments like the Ugandan adungu lyre to saxophone and bass.”

The Nile Project musicians will be in residence at Boston University from March 23-27, 2015.

Residency activities include eight class visits, a performance for local middle school children, a music education workshop, events with the African Students Organization and the BU Art Gallery, as well as the following events which are open to the public.

Public Events Schedule:

Lecture Demonstration: Musics of The Nile – Tuesday, 3/24 at 3:30-5:00 p.m.
College of Fine Arts Concert Hall – 855 Commonwealth Ave.
Members of the Nile Project and the Musical Director Miles Jay will offer a hands-on workshop to demonstrate the variety of instruments, musical styles, and rhythmic and modal systems from the countries represented in the Nile Project.
Open to the public.

Discussion Panel: Arts & Social Engagement  – Tuesday, 3/24 at 5:15-7:00 p.m.
College of Fine Arts Concert Hall – 855 Commonwealth Ave.
This panel will discuss the role of the arts and civic engagement with a particular focus on music and environmental issues. Key questions will include: How do we see the intersection of creative arts, activism, and the environmental issues we face today? What are the possibilities and limitations of creative arts as a critical response to environmental issues? What are the ways in which scientists, artists, activists, and scholars can work together to productively address their shared concerns? What models have worked, and what have not? What do new modes of creative social engagements look like?
Open to the public.

Panelists include: Grisha Coleman (Assistant Professor, ASU), DJ Spooky (Composer, artist & writer), Nathan Phillips (Professor, BU) & Mina Girgis (CEO & President, The  Nile Project). Moderated by: Marie Abe (Professor, BU)

DIGNITY: TRIBES IN TRANSITION – BU Art Galley Extended Hours till 8 pm – Tuesday, 3/24 till 8 pm.

THE NILE PROJECT Performance: BU Community only – Thursday, 3/26 at 7:00 p.m.
Tsai Performance Center – 685 Commonwealth Ave.
Students, Faculty & StaffRSVP here
Alumni – RSVP here (You must bring a copy of your Alumni Card)

Discussion Panel: Water Politics in the Nile Basin – Friday, 3/27 at 3:00-4:00 p.m.
The Frederick S. Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer-Range Future – 67 Bay State Rd.
Experts in the Nile River and water politics will discuss the challenges and political realities of managing and protecting the resources of the Nile River.
Open to the public.

Panelists include: Jessica Barnes (Assistant Professor, USC), Farouk El-Baz (Director of the Center for Remote Sensing, BU), James McCann (Associate Director of African Studies Center, BU), & Mina Girgis (CEO & President, The Nile Project). Moderated by: Anthony Janetos (Director, Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer-Range Future)

THE NILE PROJECT Performance: Open to public (Presented by World Music/CRASHarts) – Friday, 3/27 at 8:00 p.m.
Tsai Performance Center – 685 Commonwealth Ave.
Tickets are $28, and can be purchased here.

RSVP on our Facebook event & stay up-to-date with all details!
Learn more about the countries that the visiting musicians come from. Check out Professor Abe’s website on The Nile Project.

Read about the full planning process here. Collaborating for Maximum Impact Presenting the Nile Project at Boston University.

The Nile Project Press Release is available through BU Public Relations.
Any inquiries or questions can be submitted to

Hear the music of the Nile Project.

The Nile Project is presented by the BU Arts Initiative – Office of the Provost
Co-Sponsored by:
– African Studies Center
– School of Music – College of Fine Arts
– World Music/CRASHarts
World Music Crash Arts

nefa - New England Foundation for the Arts

Funded in part by the Expeditions program of the New England Foundation for the Arts, made possible with funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, with additional support from the six New England state arts agencies.


Other Partners include: 
– The Frederick S. Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer-Range Future
– Middle Eastern and North African Program
– Department of Musicology and Ethnomusicology
– Department of Music Education
– Department of Earth and Environment
– BU African Students Organization
– Global Programs
– Sustainability@BU
– The BU Arts Gallery


WHO OWNS THE NILE? curriculum unit.