Nuba Nour are a Cairo-based collective of Nubian singers and master frame drummers who perform music and dance from antiquity alongside contemporary songs reflecting the ongoing struggles of life in exile after the loss of their homelands.
The Aswan High Dam became a symbol of Egyptian nationalistic pride following the 1952 Revolution, promising to usher a new era of prosperity via the triumph of hydroelectricity, financed by the might of the USSR.
It was the people of Nubia who were to pay a high price for the benefits the Dam bought to the wider Egyptian population, and some fifty years after their ancestral lands were drowned under the waters of Lake Nasser the environmental and social impacts of the High Dam are still felt amongst those who were disposed.
While some Nubians were moved by the Government to new settlements in Aswan, to a place known somewhat dispraisingly as the Valley of Hell, the majority of Egyptian Nubians sought refuge elsewhere across the country, including Cairo where the Nuba Nour group was founded by the late El Said Gamal in 1962.
Nuba Nour’s repertoire comprises both the sacred and the secular. Songs feature verses praising Christian and Islamic saints, reflecting the influence and dominance of different religions and spiritual practices in Nubia throughout history. Old tribal customs are performed by call and response vocals, with hand claps and accompanied by the Tar Frame Drum, which is thought to possess a mystical ability to evoke the sound of fire, water and air, its traditional construction from palm bark and goat skin said to represent the unending union between the Nubian people and the environment.