Showing posts with label Sudan. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Sudan. Show all posts

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The Nile Project - follow up web links

I've promised several lovely people that I would post links to some of the follow-up projects that I've found around the inter-toobs. Even after a week I am still processing my experience there, and hopefully I'll share some of my thoughts with you here eventually.

But for now, here are the BBC Radio 3 specials, including interviews and live performances. They're really interesting, and fabulously British. It was fun meeting these reporters, they were with us for a week in Aswan.

BBC Radio 3 - Episode 1

BBC Radio 3 - Episode 2

This youtube channel has the entire January 31st Nile Project Cairo concert. Click through the entire concert if you feel like it. Here's a selection of Mohsen's "Amm Ya Gamal" (from another youtube user):

I posted all of my best photos on my facebook page if you missed them the first time round, click HERE.

The Nile Project on Al Jazeera Mubashar. For non-arabic speakers, click to 10:40.


This is an awesome little video made by Nile Project volunteers Simon and Akiko featuring Alsarah and Mohsen (this time playing the Egyptian simsimiyya) called "Ana Arous Al Nil", a traditional Sudanese wedding song.

Click HERE to read the article I co-wrote for a Sudan Tribune.

And HERE if you'd like to read German, and a piece by reporter and Nile Project volunteer Andrea Backhaus.

Monday, January 21, 2013

The Nile Project - Blog 4

Dina (Egypt), Ahmed-Omar (Egypt), Mekuanent (Ethiopia), Adel (Egypt-Nubia) and Alsarah (Sudan)

After sending an email to my Mom yesterday, I realized I never explained what The Nile Project is working toward. So here you go:
  • January 27th there will be a free all ages concert in Aswan. 
  • January 31st there will be a free all ages concert in Cairo. I will go with them.
  • I also believe there will be a Private concert at the Swedish Embassy in Cairo since one of the financial backers is a Swedish Department. 
  • In the more distant future there is talk of an album and tours down the Nile, in Europe and the United States.
  • There is also plans of educational camps for kids all along the Nile Basin.
  • Much much to plan and more complicated logistics for the staff. woohoo!

The taxis are so cool

Some thoughts:

I'm enjoying the combinations of Arabic and Ethiopian scales, Ugandan rhythms and Sudanese melodies.

The Fekra Cultural Center farm
Watching master musicians learn something new from scratch, like learning a rhythm or scale from another culture, is like watching little kids in a music class. It's putting them outside of their comfort zone, but they are all learning.

Moshen (Egypt), Ahmed-Said (Sudan) and Asrat (Ethiopia)

I sat in on a session the other night where the tune was very rock and roll. I explained the meaning of the phrase “kicking ass” and “shredding” to Hazem the Oud player, trying to compare him to the likes of Eddie Van Halen. He laughed.

Camera man Maruf (Tajikistan via Berkeley) and Mekuanent (Ethiopia)
Lawrence (Uganda), Nyaruach (South Sudan), and Makuanet (Ethiopia) -  This session was especially interesting because none of these folks speak a common language. 

Film Crew

I exchanged mp3s with one of the staff members here at Fekra Center. I'm super excited about these tracks, mostly Egyptian and Nubian pop. He wanted some reggae, so I gave him some Bob Marley, Toots and the Maytals and figured I'd also throw in some Meters, Amadou & Mariam, Souad Massi and Howlin' Wolf.

Mekuanent dances at an after party - this guy is all entertainer. A total doll.
The Fekra Cultural Center is located between the Aswan Dam and the High Dam. The water has been getting lower and lower since I've gotten here. I heard that over New Year, the levels got so high that folks were worried it would flood. And, literally in the last two hours, the levels are right back up to normal.  It's bizarre.

The film crew takes Mohammed out for a special shot. The shoot was difficult, but the results were quite beautiful.  The water levels were so low, the sound guy (from the UK) had to get out of the boat and push.

The fisherman whose boat the film crew used for the shoot, patiently waiting for his boat back.

The sunsets are crazy here
Between the musicians, staff (of the Nile Project and the Fekra Center), volunteers and journalists, film crew and sound crew there are around 40 people here, maybe more (not everyone is sleeping at Fekra). The energy can be intense, and there have been some difficult moments for me. But we're getting through it and these folks are very very sweet. I've also got Downton Abbey to distract me and some trips into town from time to time :)

Saturday, January 19, 2013

The Nile Project - Blog 3 - Musician Intro, 3 vocalists

I wanted to give you a quick intro of some of the musicians here. Because I am a singer snob, I will start with three of the vocalists. These folks are amazing. I'm enjoying noticing the stylistic and timbre similarities and differences as well as vocal ornamentation.

This is Alsarah on the left. She is Sudanese, now living in Brooklyn. This video was produced by Peter Varshavsky of Porto Franco Records in San Francisco.  Read more about her here.

Mekuanent is from Ehtiopia. He loves to dance and has awesome outfits. For more info click here.

We also have the gorgeous voice of Dina El Wedidi. She only started singing four years ago when she was 19. Brazilian superstar Gilberto Gil is her mentor. For more info click here. Click ahead in this video a little bit.