Delegation of the European Union to the African Union

MAISHA – An Afro-European Music Experiment

15/05/2019 - 15:26
News stories

Convinced by the power of art to unite, the EU Delegation to the African Union created MAISHA (‘life’ in Swahili).

MAISHA – an Afro-European Music Experiment – was a two-week music residency which brought together 12 musicians from the two continents to collaborate and co-create original musical pieces.

The musicians, of 10 different nationalities from Africa & Europe, were carefully selected after an open call to which over 300 musicians had applied.

During the two weeks of the residency (April 25 – May 9), they co-created music, gave workshops at local music schools and recorded an album.

On May 9 2019 (Europe Day), they performed the results of the residency at a public concert at the Ethiopian National Theatre. As part of MAISHA and thanks to partnerships with the European Investment Bank, The Netherlands & Sweden, MAISHA also included a refurbishment of the National Theatre.

A magical and moving experience for musicians and audience alike, the MAISHA show was a one-of-a-kind public event, attended by 1200 persons, a mix of the diplomatic community and local youth. A blend of authentic sounds from traditional and modern instruments, showcasing a high degree of teamwork.

In the words of Ethiopian star pianist Samuel Yirga, part of MAISHA, "this unique and well-planned project – one of my favourite collaborations so far - had a beautiful vibe - fusing culture is always amazing and inspiring".

What's next?

The MAISHA music recording (12 tracks) will be disseminated alongside a documentary film showing the beauty and challenges of creating unique new sounds and defeating cultural barriers. It will be presented among others at the European Development Days, June 18-19.

With cultural actors across Africa and Europe already expressing interest in organising further concerts, MAISHA may be on tour in a city nearby you sooner than you imagine!

MAISHA is a concrete testimony of Africa-Europe cooperation, spreading values of coexistence and peace-building.

The musicians’ line-up

  • Nancy S Mutize, ‘Nasibo’, Zimbabwe, Mbira & Vocals
  • Shabani Ramadhani, Tanzania, Bass Guitar
  • Michał Żak, Poland, Flute/Clarinet
  • Fatime Songoro, Hungary, Saxophone
  • Samuel Yirga, Ethiopia, Piano 
  • Maryll Abbas, France, Accordion
  • Haddis Alemayehu, Ethiopia, Masinqo 
  • Tefo Mahola, South Africa, Drums
  • Sebastien Giniaux, France, Guitar
  • Amine Kanzi Belghiti, Morocco, Percussions
  • Cherif Soumano, Mali, Kora
  • Maurizio Congiu, Italy, Double Bass