11-Nation Nile Project Connects Cultures Through Music
Two San Franciscans just back from Africa met over beers at an Uptown Oakland cafe in 2011 after a concert at Sweet’s Ballroom by the Ethiopian-American band Debo. Ethnomusicologist Mina Girgis from Egypt, where he was raised, and singer-songwriter Meklit Hadero from Ethiopia, where she was born, discussed how although they both hailed from East African countries along the Nile River, they hadn’t been very aware of the music of each other’s cultures until after they came to the United States.
“What if we got musicians from across the Nile to create music together?” Hadero recalls her friend asking.
“We both stopped, and there was a moment of silence,” she adds. “It was such a huge idea. We both felt the bigness of it.”