The Nile Project Performance Reflection

Feb 24, 2015

What were your thoughts about The Nile Project’s performance? Share your feedback about the musicians, their instruments, and their amazing collaborative work across the 11 countries bordering the Nile.

 

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It's interesting because when you learn about water problems in third world countries, it's usually through a textbook or in a classroom setting, but listening to The Nile Project definitely added a much needed human element to all that I've learned. Their performance was mesmerizing, intriguing, and overall fun. I bought their CD and would recommend their music!

Music, Community Engagement, and International Environmental Problem-Solving. What do these three things have in common? If you ask the members of the Nile Project, they will tell you that water is the common bond. The Nile River Basin encompasses 430 million people in 11 countries. Water flows North from Lakes Victoria and Tana to the Nile Delta in Cairo. Historically, Egypt has held near-exclusive water rights over the River. Conflicts today include water quantity, agriculture and food security, cooperation between nations, and the opportunities for development like constructing hydropower dams. The population of the basin is expected to double in the next few decades, adding to this resource tension. The Nile Project uses musical collaboration from the basin cultures to spark and catalyze awareness of broader environmental issues. I attended the concert at Northrop, in addition to the Monday discussion session with Co-founder/President/CEO Mina Girgis. How does the Nile relate to us? 1. We are situated on the Mississippi, another of the world’s greatest rivers. Though we concern ourselves with water quality rather than water quantity, the connections between the two rivers run deep. 2. Along the length of a river live many different cultural perspectives, traditions, and narratives. Music can provide a way to unite communities and raise awareness of larger issues. 3. The University of Minnesota, with our own unique river identity, hosts some of the brightest leaders and problem-solvers. The Nile Project focuses on engaging University students (in the Basin as well as on their travels) to develop programming, build community, sponsor fellowships, and innovate. One of the songs performed tonight was based on the following premise: Yes, the River gives us many benefits (ecosystem services.) We take advantage of these benefits to survive. However, how can we realize the full importance of this system? What do we give back to the River?

The performers and their music are marvelous, but Northrop Auditorium is the wrong venue, distancing audience from musicians as it does; it is almost a travesty to enclose such music-making on a proscenium stage. Several musicians nevertheless succeeded in transcending that boundary to involve the audience in their performance -- the sort of participation that would develop organically in a space like the Cedar Cultural Center, and engage participants more thoroughly, like a music transfusion uniting all present.

Thank you so much to Northrop and the performers of the Nile Project for creating such an amazing show! This was a truly spectacular experience and I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to learn more about a prevalent issue in Africa while enjoying some amazing music. The entire cast is extremely talented and I wish them luck on their future endeavors.

One of the many elements of the beauty of this music is the way in which it transcends the existing diversities between the nations from which the performers hail. It expresses the range of emotions that might connect one or the land to water (or, more specifically, the Nile) in a synchronized and yet diverse range of musical styles. It was a totally engaging, educational, and edifying experience of a performance. "Water is life!"

Wow! This was such an engaging concert. I was absolutely blown away by the performances that I witnessed. Hats off to every member in this project. Each are so unique and bring a completely different feel and sound to the table. I found that the singer from Egypt to be memorizing. I do not speak the language, but her song felt so real and genuine. The project does a fantastic job of highlighting real issues yet showing how cultures can come together and express through music.

THE SHOW WAS ABSOLUTELY AMAZING! I love the idea of raising awareness as one Nile basin community and disregarding political conflicts around the Nile. It was a unique experience that combined artists, music and instruments to touch humanity and to get people thinking about their contributions, even though they live hundreds of miles away. As the founder, Mina Girgis said, "What have you done to save the Nile?"

We loved the purpose of the Nile Project was to bring people from 11 different countries of Africa to perform and all for the issues with the Nile basin water problems. The plea for the U of M Students to put their heads together to help in the effort of the water shortages in Africa was a good challenge. The music was wonderful and we learned about very different instruments they were playing! All the women singers were exceptionally talented as were all the musicians too! It was nice to get the audience up and dancing too! Too bad the turnout was not like the full house of the Dance Theater of Harlem the week before! It was all for a good cause.

The performance was absolutely captivating! The songs and stories portrayed by the group were beautiful and informative. They exposed the audience to the rich and diverse cultures that most American otherwise wouldn't have a chance to see. The musicians sang and played with great enthusiasm and were truly talented. Definitely a sound I have never heard before but am so glad I had the opportunity to! A fun concert to attend and getting to sing and dance along was an added bonus.

The Nile project was an engaging and empowering musical event used to help inspire college research in improving the sustainability of the Nile Basin. Highly recommended to experience this performance for yourself!

As I watched the performance with no real background knowledge of the issue it centered around, I couldn’t help but think of myself as a truly ignorant viewer. I wondered how many other people around me felt as I did. However ignorant I am about the politics of the Nile Basin, I do associate one country with the Nile. That, of course, is Egypt. I was not aware of the politics behind the River and the conversation that the Nile Project wishes to bring to the table was conveyed to me without the necessity of common language. The performers were conveying a sort of musical and theatrical conversation between instruments, people, and clothing from eleven countries involved with the Nile through trade, through water, and in many other ways. This variety allowed the audience to feel a sense of inclusiveness and therefore enabled myself and others to understand how to join in and start the conversation. The first thing that struck me was the instruments and the musicality used. I, having been a musician and dancer for most of my life, have taken countless African dance lessons and have managed to never see these instruments first hand or learn them by their true name. This heightened my cultural curiosity. The first number especially struck me. It started with Sophie in center stage with the zither as the only instrument involved. I saw her as the metaphorical initiator of the cultural conversation. As the drums and other instruments joined her on stage and in a sort of musical argument, the outfits of the performers began to resonate with me. As a former performer, I know that costuming is an important mechanism when trying to convey a specific idea through movement or through sound. This was definitely a tactic that was used by the performers in the Nile Project. Each of them wore different styles. Some outfits looked very traditional and possibly were pertaining of their individual ethnicity and other wearing modern looking dresses and pants. Ultimately these outfits acted as cultural identifiers and allowed the audience members, like myself, to see that there was a conversation being had even if the audience could not understand their lyrics and their message. And, this musical conversation was being had among many countries and cultures that thrive because of the existence of the Nile. The inclusive nature of the performers and there closeness with one another was a very inspiring sight. It also furthered their message and allowed me to understand that they wanted the audience to get involved in the conversation. Even in Minnesota, we should be able to engage ourselves in world affairs and join in the song and the conversation. The musical instruments and voices from each of the countries represented were also given a chance to take the spotlight. This inspires a sort of communal respect for each culture and the differing opinions on the Nile issues. It also makes the audience feel comfortable in joining the conversation or starting a conversation of their own. This feeling of acceptance and appreciation for all was apparent near the end of the show. Everyone was up out of their seat and dancing in their own way, therefore contributing to the musical conversation. In general, this performance opened my eyes to the issues with the politics of the Nile and also the politics in the world surrounding me. It was thought provoking. The fact that a show could, through music and song, convey such a powerful message and prove that everyone should join in the conversation is something that I didn’t know could happen. As a performer, I am inspired to use my performances as a vessel to provoke not only thought, but change and engagement from the world around me.

When I first entered the Northrup I had no idea what to except from the coming performance. I had gathered, from the brief description on the Northrup website, that it was a coming together of different artists from countries in the Nile Basin who wanted to use music as a form of communication between their different countries. When the performance began I began to realize how visible that communication was. While there was always a main performer, usually one of the female singers, there was also constantly an open stream of communication between all the artists that were seen on the stage. Whether it was the different instruments working together, singers joining their voices into one, or the simple act of dancing with, and acknowledging their fellow performers, there was always an open feeling of communication between the artists on the stage. Through the collaboration of the artists I feel that the goal of the Nile Project was coming to fruition before my very eyes. The creators of this project want to create an open dialogue between these countries in order to have discussion about major issues and problems within the Nile Basin area. And what better way to break down cultural divides than through music? Music allows a person to express himself or herself in a way that spoken or written language does not. Music allows the incorporation of different perspectives, ideas, and cultural differences to be explored, and mixed, while still being able to keep cultural identities and customs true to their original form. The most memorable way that I saw the idea of open communication and collaboration between the artists was when two of the women singers began to preform. One was from Cairo, Egypt and the other was from Sudan. When they began to sing I saw the break down of cultural differences and the unification of two different perceptions. They were able to both use their skills through music to create something that was able to break down current political and historical issues between the two countries and work together to create a piece of music that spoke to more than just the audience, but rather the collaboration of countries. This feeling of collaboration did not only affect the artists themselves, but the audience as well. As the show began to progress, and the performers engaged the audience in dance, I saw how the idea of communication through music could truly reach and engage a large group of people. All around me people were engaging with the performers and fellow audience members. There are very few times that I have seen a social barrier broken down in such short amount of time. People in the audience were interacting with complete strangers and many were allowing themselves total freedom in their expression of dance. This cultural norm is rarely broken, particularly in American culture where individuals tend to keep to themselves. Seeing this, I thought to myself, if the Nile Project is able to reach this audience and break down their cultural norms then this is a stepping-stone to create a breakdown and discussion about the issues that are surrounding the Nile Basin. Overall being able to witness such a powerful display of communication and collaboration was very eye opening to me. Taking in the idea that the artists all come from different backgrounds, with different political and environmental issues that face their countries, they are still able to come together through music. The strength of music and the Nile Project is truly something to be inspired by.

The African musics inspired by the Nile river remind me of how deeply the Nile river involved into each culture and country in Africa. Multiple musics are named as water or river in different African languages, and those sound like a sensitive and strong flows of the river. Current development in the third world countries, however, tend to destroy these nature based African cultures by capitalism as an example. People put more value on the profits rather than the beautiful nature to escape from the poversh or to keep a certain position to survive in the globalization. Through the music, I could see the daily life of African countries such as spending a beautiful calm day with family, friends, and nature. But the globalization changed their lifestyles to be more productive in both positive and negative ways. People care more about the making profits. The current African people’s lives may not seem or sound like those beautiful musics themed a river

What I really loved about this performance was that it embodied so much of the cultural diversity in North Africa. This performance, a collaborative effort between people of different nationalities coming together and celebrating their cultural differences, reminds us that we need to be willing to work together to help solve environmental issues. The music was powerful and energetic. The performers had a wonderful presence that made the performance so fun to watch and the crowd participation made the night memorable.

On February 24, 2015 I had a great opportunity to go to “The Nile Project” performance with my class. I really loved the show and it was one of those experiences that I will remember for the rest of my life. The Nile Project that was founded in 2011 not only brings together artists and musicians from the 11 Nile countries to make art that unites the region’s diverse instruments, languages and traditions, but also inspires communities around the world to acknowledge and adopt the ecological issues at hand. “The Nile Project” is a beautiful event – music, dancing, costumes, singing; everything is performed with a great pride, happiness, and joy. Personally, the most memorable part of the event was the sense of collectivity, unity, harmony, and friendship. I really enjoyed the songs. All of the songs were so different, so unique, and so beautiful. I only learned at the end of the concert that lyrics to all the songs are available in English on the website; I wish I knew it earlier so I could read some of them and print out my favorites. At first I felt a bit lost because I didn’t understand the words but then I recognized that perhaps lyrics are not the most important part and I could just concentrate on music and follow the vibe. Being able to sign, I learned to pay attention to the hand gestures, facial expressions, and the spiritual mood of the person; because of that I simply didn’t have to understand the words of the song anymore, I could already feel it and it was very fulfilling and rewarding – after few minutes I even caught myself singing along. I think my favorite singer is a young lady from Ethiopia named Selamnesh. There was something mysterious about her voice, it was beautiful but it felt really heavy. It felt like she has so much to say, sing, and share; I almost felt worried when she was singing. Another beautiful aspect is musicians’ attire. Every participant had such beautiful clothing on. Bright colors, out of ordinary shapes and designs of garments - one don’t usually have a chance anymore witnessing the original clothing, the one that reflects history, traditions, and customs. I think Selamnesh had the most beautiful dress on – bright blue with golden stripes. She looked like the Nile River on the sunny day. Especially when she was dancing and the light reflected on her dress it looks like sun reflecting on Nile’s waves. It wouldn’t be a show without the drummers. To this day I don’t understand how someone can be so wonderful and play drums so well! The rhythm, the unity of performance is just breathtaking. I think to some point, it represents the togetherness of many nations and cultures; the beauty of the traditions, creativity and talent. All of the musical instruments played at the show demonstrated so much history and memories. The Nile Project is an event everyone should experience. I have been to few concerts before, but it is usually a one-man show, one center of attention, and one story. “The Nile Project”, on the other hand, is a story of a whole continent, different cultures, and various countries. The whole event felt like a trip around Africa. We heard songs from Egypt, Ethiopia, Sudan, and danced to the music of Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda. Engaging tales and legends of many countries and discovering the beauty of each story, the whole experience presented the sense of one big family. With all the misunderstandings, conquering, peacemaking, the musicians and artists of “The Nile Project” awarded the impression and awareness of unity, friendship, insight, perception, and kindness. It was a privilege to learn the art of Africa, feel its spirit, participate, understand and appreciate the sophisticated history and engage in building the bright future.

When I was informed about the opportunity to attend a performance on campus called the Nile Project, I was immediately interested. I have always been naturally interested in all topics and events surrounding Africa. Like always, before I attend any kind of event, or performance, I want to gain some background knowledge. I visited the Nile Project website, and several press reviews. After reading what the Nile Project’s mission was, and raging reviews, I was even more eager to attend. The Nile Project started its journey in 2011 with the founders, Mina Girgis and Ethiopian singer Meklit Hadero. Their mission was to start a conversation about the Nile’s challenges, and for the people of the Nile to come together as a whole to attack the root of the issue. Artists and performers from 11 African countries that surround the Nile collectively share their culture, instruments, language and music. The Nile Project is a beautiful, harmonizing integration of the cultures among the people of the Nile. This project bonds these various cultures with music alone, along with the reminder that they all share a common aspect, the Nile. With each representative from each country sharing the Nile such as, Sudan, Uganda, Egypt and Ethiopia, all sharing their culture and music and dynamically blending it into one piece of art. The night starts with a Sudanese artist, whose beautiful voice serves as our introduction for the evening. Slowly, all eleven of the remaining artists join her, and harmonize their voices, languages and instruments as if they all come from the same place. Later, each country took their turn to stand out and share their traditions, instruments and languages with the audience. The crowd even engaged with the artist. Even though the majority of the audience did not understand the foreign languages, it remained as a special experience to feel the music internally and make a connection with the music along with the artists who create it. It was a unique moment to take a second and observe the audience, as we were all singing and dancing. The room was an environment where people could get lost in the music, and emerge oneself into the various cultures. We often forget that we, as a human race are one kind and we tend to focus on our differences and stay close to what’s familiar to us. It’s powerful to see something like music, which makes people forget all of those dividing factors. The music created by the various artists focused on messages such as, love, relationships, and the environment. The experience of attending this event was truly inspiring. It addresses an important issue that requires more exposure, and I believe music is an effective, universal approach to starting this conversation. I also think it is important that we as college students, the future, take these issues seriously, because others are counting on us to make a change. We as the human race have an important job in preserving and nurturing our resources that we often take for granted. The Nile provides life for millions of African citizens and can create devastating hardships if we do not address the issues surrounding the Nile.

The was so honored to have the opportunity to attend this show for a Geography course at the University and it opened my eyes to the different musical cultures of the area. As a music lover and long past performer, I was fascinated by the variety in each piece.

Attending this show was the highlight of my week. I have to say, I came in quite uncertain of what kind of show this would be, but I was definitely surprised and very impressed to say the least. Each song that was performed had its own unique story to it, and the variety of instruments used by the various talented performers made the experience more than special. I'm glad I was able to attend.

This performance was much different than I thought it would be.The idea of using different types of music from different countries in the Nile basin is an incredibly creative way to raise awareness of water conflicts. The use of music helps put real people and real cultures to the issue rather than it just being a distant problem. It also helps open the door for conversation about more types of environmental degradation and conflicts. Their show has gotten me thinking about environmental issues in a broader sense as well. I have always had an awareness that problems with the environment negatively effected humans, I wouldn’t say I was ever naïve about that truth, but this show really solidified the idea that cultures and the beauty that individuals create within these cultures will be and are in danger because of the our consumption and ill use of the earth’s recourses.

A diverse collection of performers from many different countries in the Nile Basin performed at the Northrop auditorium Tuesday night. They were dressed in a range of distinctly traditional clothes and more modern styles. Their individual talents were showcased in songs reflecting the folk music of their home countries. The Nile Project’s main goal was to use the cross-cultural language of music to spark conversations about the politics of the region. My impression of the show was very positive. The performers were immensely skilled and used their incredible energy to move the crowd. Throughout the performance, they encouraged everybody to clap along with the songs, and at the end of the show, they asked the audience to stand up and dance. The informal and exciting nature of the Nile Project contrasted sharply with the ornately carved pillars and opera-house style box seats of the auditorium. Of course, this contrast may not have been as welcome to some of the audience members as it was to others. Still, the majority of the crowd on Tuesday night was willing to step out of their comfort zones and enjoy the music. Politically and ecologically, the Nile Basin has been under stress over the last two centuries. The Nile Project seeks to develop a dialogue in spite of a history of colonialism and warfare, and to bring countries together to face common problems. To accomplish that, the project does not try to show essentialist, unified culture across the basin, but rather, it embraces the idea of the region’s diversity. In my opinion, demonstrating diversity by including one or two performers from each country in the Nile Basin creates the illusion of cultural homogeneity within those countries. A single Ugandan musician, saying “welcome to Uganda” before playing a song from the country can create misconceptions in the audience about the culture and ethnic demographics of Uganda. More dangerously, this project could downplay or even erase the history of colonialism that Uganda and every country represented in the Nile Project experienced. Equating national borders with cultural and ethnic boundaries overlooks important problems that many of these countries are facing. In order for the Nile Project to establish international cooperation for their region, they have decided give each Nile Basin country a unique cultural identity. Is that worth potentially downplaying the diversity within each of those countries? Of course, the Nile Project is not actively trying to do this, and in order to accurately represent the different ethnic groups in the basin, they could hardly do so with the twelve musicians they had on the stage. Their goal is so broad that certain compromises must be made toward portraying a completely accurate depiction of the region’s cultures. International cooperation through music is a noble goal, and it has led to some amazing performances across the world, which have entertained audiences and made them more aware of the region’s politics and diversity. However, in order to get a true scope of what the Nile Basin is like culturally, people will obviously have to do their own research, and not simply rely on one concert to inform them.

Attending this show for me was a fascinating immersion of different cultures and the eclectic music that they all tied to their connections of the Nile river. As a music fanatic I loved hearing the different sounds and languages the music offered and encountering music in a diverse way. It was truly an amazing experience to engage with the artist and seeing the importance our environment in a different lens that we do not often see it in.

This performance was fun, upbeat and refreshing! Very entertaining, and also had a good cause to back it up. I would definitely recommend this performance to anyone looking to broaden their cultural horizons beyond the United States!

I had a great time at this performance. It was a delight and surprise to see the performers from different nations unite under the common goal of creating awesome music. The variety of musical instruments and musical styles was great and made for an interesting performance. The performance also had the important message of starting a dialogue about water conservation efforts in the Nile River basin. I would recommend this show to anyone who appreciates good music and experiencing new forms of it.

The Nile Project’s performance was breathtaking. I’ve overheard East African/Nile Valley based music occasionally, at work and otherwise, but never attentively listened. The array of songs performed opened my eyes to an entire continent of music that I would like to explore and learn about. To sit and watch a group of individuals work together to create a collective sound and represent cultures, countries, languages and ethnicities so wholly was an experience I’m thankful to have had. One of the first people I noticed in the group was a percussionist, the woman from Kenya (I can’t seem to find her on the groups website). She was the one female percussionist of three, and she was incredible. For the majority of the performance she was a secondary percussionist, keeping beat and supporting her fellow performers. For one song she had to stand and strap a large drum over each shoulder, standing on two blocks to allow the bottom of the drum movement while she played. I was impressed by her because of the skill she had with each instrument--not just in playing, but the subtle movements she made with them. She masterfully moved around and handled each, even when a microphone fell and a drum strayed away from its spot she kept beat and was able to talk to the stage hand about how to fix it. I think its because of this skill that I also noticed, especially during the percussions song, that while the other percussionists had intense and moving solo’s, her shining moments were reduced to leading the audience in clapping and playing a wooden bullfrog. The other two performers were men, very skilled percussionists and performers. My first reaction to this was to assume that she didn’t have an especially impressive “shining moment” was due to a sexist, misogynistic agenda from someone with directorial power, or possibly a perspective shared by the group. However, when I reflected more on this assumption I realized that I really didn’t know anything about the group’s gender agenda/politics, and for me assume something so negative spoke more to my perspective than any decision they may or may not have made. For all I knew she might prefer not performing something so intense in front of a larger audience, maybe she had a minor injury that couldn’t handle the strain required to do so, I really don’t know. It was also mentioned at the end of the performance when she was introduced that she’s Kenyan. This made the decision make more sense. The majority of the performers being from the Nile River Valley, an emphasis in the group and their performances, could mean that while her skill was needed and welcomed, the decision was made to keep the spotlight on those who the performance was “about” (I put that in quotations because the groups goal is to open discussions about the Nile River Valley and its water relations by having the involved countries represented in their performances, not to put the individuals themselves).

It is not every day you that you get to hear the enchanting, heart thumping music that is part of the identity of Africa. Watching the performances in the Nile Project, I couldn’t help but be transported back in time, when I was in Kenya, where I grew up listening to the beautiful and soul reaching music that is associated with Africa. The show was a great, but through watching it I couldn’t help but notice a few things that were not obvious. One of the things I noticed was that the show started with only one singer singing alone. In the beginning, it was just her and her instrument on the stage, but as time went on, others began to join in. The show then progressed from one singer, to one singer and a band, and finally to two singers singing together. I found this interesting because I knew that the show was made to unite people and start conversations between them about the Nile. I thought that this was a subtle and smart way to show how united they were becoming through what they had in common: music. One of the most surprising but pleasant moments that I witnessed was when the singers joined in each other’s songs. That was something I didn’t expect because they were singing songs in their native languages that others couldn’t understand. I thought that this was a wonderful way to show that although they might be geographically separated, their music brings them together. This was a great way to get rid of the separation that is between people due to geography or politics. Although I loved every aspect of the show, one criticism that I had and that made me squirm every time, especially as an east African, was the constant jokes or monologues that the singers had to make before or after their performances. It seemed that they were trying too hard to not only show that they were indeed from the country they said they were, but to also fit in; they were trying to please their audience. Some of the jokes made, such as the ones from the guy from Burundi, were jokes that are stereotypically associated with Africans. I believe in this aspect of the show, they were appealing to what their audience expected of them rather than who they are. This is not surprising because the audience consisted of mostly white people and they are the ones with authority. This was a sad aspect of the show to see but a very circumstantial one, After all, who would watch an African performance that was not stereotypically African? I thought that this was a great show that was taking the initiative to bridge the gap between countries near the Nile River. I thought they got their messages of being united and despite geography well across, the best ones being the subtle ones. Although I believe the show played into some stereotypes, it is a great start in opening people’s eyes and in making them come together for a common goal.

The Nile Project was absolutely an amazing performance. Not knowing much about the project prior, I was going in with no to little understanding about the topic and the water politics behind it. It was truly amazing how they merged different cultures and sounds into one synthesized performance. Being Ethiopian, I was excited to see my country represented in the project and was amazed by the beautiful sounds they created with cultural instruments. Although the overall performance was great and the sounds were pleasing to the ear, I did wonder a lot about the politics involved with it. That region of Africa is known to have many conflicts and I was curious about how they were able to put aside those issues and politics and come together to encourage the water conversation. With there being a lot of conflict with the river itself, I wonder who was fueling this project and who was funding it. I know they all meet up for a few weeks to rehearse before they go on tour but funding plays is vital role in their work and it would be nice to know how and who is behind all of that. Thinking critically about these types of events is critical because there’s usually self-motivated interest and intentions for creating an open conversation about such a complex topic in Africa. Another thing that I was thinking while watching this was, how the individuals were selected to represent a country. With a lot of ethnic fragmentation in Africa, I know favoritism exists within tribes and different ethnicities so I was curious to know how these individuals were selected to be a representation of such large countries. They did a great job of putting the focus on the positive message about the river but there are realities that we can’t neglect. The foundation of the Egypt vs. Ethiopian war was the river and maybe if they incorporated some narration of the realities that occurred as an educational piece as well would have been interesting. It was a great performance but from a scholarly perspective, it would have been more appealing if they shared more background information on the topic either than just the music. I think a narrator or short clips about the river would have enhanced the audience experience, since most of us didn’t understand any of the lyrics that were key to understanding the history of the river. I understood most of the lyrics from the Ethiopian pieces so that definitely gave me a better understanding of their purpose and intention looking past the musical aspect. I just think it would be more educational if people knew what the performers were saying (perhaps on a Powerpoint screen) at the moment of the show. It would make sense since it was performed at a University that it has an emphasized educational piece. Also, I was wondering if they only performed outside of Africa which makes me wonder if this conversation even makes sense in the USA. I feel like it is definitely something that needs to be shared within the region that is affected by the river so it can encourage positive conversation and may even help mediate conflict. Besides that, the thing I thought was the best throughout the whole show was how they encouraged audience participation and interacted with the audience with the pieces they played. We got to meet each individual and the country they were representing right before their piece so that was nice. Overall I enjoyed the whole thing and am glad they are trying to create a positive message and peace about the river.

After watching the Nile Project’s performance at Northrop, I was able to take away many things. Prior to first hearing about the Nile Project and doing research on the Nile, I was not fully aware of the controversy surrounding the river. The idea of gathering individuals from each of the surrounding Nile countries is what makes the Nile Project much more interesting. The variety of ethnic groups and countries that are being represented in the project create room for a wider conversation and enables the conflicts surrounding the Nile to be approached from different aspects. The diversity within the group also allows each individual to contribute both the experiences and impacts that the river continues to have on his or her country. Watching the Nile Project enhanced my appreciation of music. My inability to understand the languages that were being spoken forced me to concentrate on different aspects of the music. For example, I was immediately drawn to the instruments that were being played. What was interesting to me was that although there were some instruments that I was familiar with, the unfamiliar ones played melodies that were universal. Also, I saw a connection between the instruments/performers and the Nile. Each had a special uniqueness about them that which made them stand apart from the others. Additionally, they were able to successfully come together and play at the same time to produce a beautiful harmony. One other aspect that I found to be very interesting was the power of the singer. Because of the language barrier, each singer had control over what we listened to as well as what we partook in throughout his or her performance. A great example of this is the man from Burundi. I thought his performance to be particularly interesting because of the translation of the meaning of the song. The ability of the performer to easily get us to imitate what he was singing without a clear understanding of what we were repeating is something that I found to be interesting. I think that this demonstrates the trust that people have in those who play the role of a translator. At this point in the performance I was able to see how much power each of the speakers held, and how this power was easily transferred between musicians from each country as they led a song. Lastly I wanted to reflect on the amount of unity that was shown between all of the performers and instrumentalists. Although each of the performers were from different countries they did not allow this cultural barrier to interfere with their music and performance. In fact, it seemed as though the musicians used both their cultural and language differences as a source of connection as opposed to having it serve as a limitation and a barrier. They each added their own style to the music and conveniently adapted to each artist to ensure that everything sounded smooth. I think that this is how they wish to change the Nile. The show was a representation of the Nile River through its fluidity, and with the contributions of the eleven surrounding singers and countries they can continue adding while maintaining the flow of the songs and river.

Thank you so much to Northrop and the Nile River project for such an amazing show. From the very first moment when a beautiful goddess walked out onto the stage and sat down to play her instrument that appeared to be similar to a guitar, but was unlike any instrument that I have ever seen anyone play before, to the final song where I left dancing and smiling it truly was an incredible show. I enjoyed every minute of it immensely. Also, to tie such performances in with such a worthy and difficult topic as usage of the Nile River was both daring and successful. I left with a new beat of drums in my ears and a message of the difficult task of responsibly managing the Nile River in my head. It was both inspiring and entertaining to see these things put together on one stage.

The Nile Project was a musically engaging and inspiring show. Water resource management is an important issue that needs to be recognized and the Nile Project was able to educate and inform its audience of the issues that are happening in the Nile Basin. The collaboration between the musicians was both exciting and entertaining and the music that was performed was energetic, fun, and impressive. I really enjoyed how the musicians interacted with the audience in some of their songs by encouraging us to dance, sing, or clap along. I highly recommend this show to anyone who is interested! You will most definitely be glad you went.

Great music, whether it is a symphony, or in a different language; can make a person feel a certain way, it touches a person both emotionally and spiritually. For me, as an example, I felt fascinated at how something as diverse as music can bring people of different nationalities under one roof. There were different concoctions of instruments creating beautiful melodies, lyrics that weren’t understandable, but felt as though everyone comprehended the meaning of each word, and dances that portrayed the music, were all factors that contributed to the memorable show. Music is universal, no matter what nationality or age, people feel the same emotions throughout the world, and great music is able to unify people together. The instruments and songs played on stage all had their unique and individual qualities, but when blended together, I was overwhelmed with an appreciation for being able to hear something so beautiful. For instance, the beginning of a majority of the songs all started with a single instrument, which made the audience attentive to the interactive work that makes a complete song enjoyable. Then gradually, a boomerang is added, the energetic beat of the drums, a melody from the woodwind instrument, and the soulful tunes of the saxophone all merged together forming a great cultural music. I also liked how the performance incorporated cultural instruments like the endongo, which was a made out of cow skin. The human voice, in a way, is an instrument, which was depicted through singers like Sophie from Rwanda and Dina from Egypt, who radiated emotion through the crescendos and fortes of their voices. Ultimately, whether it was a tangible instrument, or through the voice, the melodies and rhythm that came together helped honor the significance of everything that was being played on the stage. Furthermore, the songs presented were in different languages; nevertheless, people in the audience still felt moved by the voice of the singers, and some people would clap in the middle of the song, which comes to show how music doesn’t always have to be understood lyrically. The singer Dina sang about the south of Egypt and was inspired by the cultural songs along the Nile, which she explained to the audience. However, even though I didn’t know every meaning, I could feel the emotions she emitted towards the audience. The question, “how are you feeling,” was frequently repeated by the performers because it was evident that the room was filled with mirth and happiness. Regardless of what language is being used, it always comes back to the idea that somehow music and the soul are linked. In addition, music was only half of the performance, the dances should also be acknowledged because music helps move a person, but dance also helps visually represent a song. When the audience was encouraged to dance, I believe people felt more connected and involved with the song. Personally, when I saw Sophie dancing with such joy and enthusiasm, I understood her passion for the song through her movements. Also, when people started to dance in unison, the idea of connection was even more emphasized because it showed how people could be physically moved by music together. Music and dance intermingle to connect a variety of people throughout the world. In conclusion, the Nile project represented not only how different cultures can come together to raise awareness about water, but also how music can unite people emotionally and through dancing. In the end, I felt as though I left with a better understanding of how music is culturally essential for the human soul. It is a way to express a feeling that resonates throughout the world. We all have different languages, values, and customs, but everyone can feel sadness, love, or happiness, but music is a way to tell a story and express those feelings.

I went into the Nile Project performance with little to no background information about it. The main thing I knew was there was an ongoing conflict involving the Nile and its surroundings especially the ecosystem it was a part of. When I was presented with The Nile Project I got to see places and people come together in efforts to start a live conversation through art. The Nile River connects eleven countries and the idea of the Nile Project allows seven of those eleven countries to get to know each other the best way they can, through art. I saw similarities across borders each time there was a new performance. I think it was a way for the artists to collectively learn about one another, and also teach people like myself through the use of instruments, singing, and dancing. It was almost an intimate conversation happening right in front of you. We saw places like Rwanda, Sudan, South Sudan, Egypt, Uganda, and Kenya represented beyond a conflict. The Nile Project is a representation of how these countries want to be seen together. This particular event also showed me the importance of the class as a whole. Much of the time people take things about Africa at face value, but there’s more to it then meets the eye. The conversations happening around me as I watched the performance is the kind of things you want to hear. Although a majority of the audience was white it showed how much of a conversation starter it was. No one was paying attention to how different the people on stage were from each other and from the crowd. I believe that was the main idea or goal for the actual performers. It was a phenomenal art piece because it came together so easily. Music is more than just understanding the actual lyrics because I didn’t. The heart and soul put into the actual music was felt and that meant so much more. The energy surging through the crowd showed the impact each musician had as an individual and as a group. It allowed me to leave wanting to know more about The Nile Project and the history and politics behind it. Without it I don’t think I would have been as open to learning about it because it’s truly something that needs to be felt. People look to things they will find entertaining, what better way to bring light to an issue than use something like music? It gets you curious and thinking about the lyrics and roles the musicians play beyond that of the stage. Their performance doesn’t just end at the stage; they feel it’s their job to be educators as well. I feel like Westerners especially are attracted to things they hold to be exotic. This musical art piece was beyond exotic, therefore; of course it’s going to get the attention of people. The Nile Project was a humbling experience because like I said it left me wanting to know more. I walked into it thinking I wouldn’t enjoy it because I had no idea what it was about, but that changed within the first performance. Allowing myself to open up to something beyond what I listen to or watch was new for me. I think they accomplished their goal of unity on stage and in the crowd because we all felt as one due to the raw energy brought on by the artists.

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