Ethiopian Singer Meklit Hadero Uses Music to Ignite a Conversation about Water Issues in Nile River Nations

Meklit Hadero
Ethiopian-American singer-songwriter Meklit Hadero and Egyptian ethnomusicologist Mina Girgis have created the large-scale, multiphase Nile Project. This endeavor will gather eclectic, respected musicians from the seven countries along the great river (Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Sudan, and Egypt) for local, regional, and international performances. Guided by local tastes and aesthetics, the resulting ensemble will be the first of its kind–and about far more than music. It will leverage the power of music and performance to get people excited, get people in different countries talking across borders and cultures, and help spur efforts to find new, grassroots ways of addressing water issues along the Nile.

This combination of international know-how and local savvy, of music and environmental education and activism, is beginning with a Kickstarter campaign to support the first phase.

It’s not about how do I get more water, or how do I negotiate to get the most water. It’s not about scarcity, but about how we can solve this together,” explains Mina Girgis, the Cairo-born music scholar and founder of Zambaleta World Music and Dance School in San Francisco. “When I see someone from Ethiopia who plays resonant music, I’m excited to get to know them more. I’m starting to think about them in a very different light. Music can bring people together, instead of separating them.”

In this first phase, “we’re going to be scouting for musicians, but also looking for a real pool of local advisers in all the places we’re going,” singer Meklit Hadero notes. “That’s part of our mission, looking for community-based solutions, for local leaders and people on the ground with solutions to environmental problems.”

Meklit and Mina talk more about the project and the current Kickstarter campaign at

Additional information about Meklit and Mina at: and

Author: World Music Central News Department

World music news from the editors at World Music Central


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