Funded by the European Union

About MAISHA

Bridging cultures through Afro-European collaboration

MAISHA (Swahili word for ‘life’) is an Afro-European cultural experiment.
Created in 2019 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, by the European Union Delegation to the African Union, the project is a testimony of collaboration & co-creation, the power of art to unite and a successful example of Africa-Europe cross-border cooperation and intercultural dialogue and solidarity, spreading shared values of coexistence and humanity.

MAISHA Live!

MAISHA Dance live stream update: watch the recorded show

We apologize for the technical problem with the live stream on the link provided here yesterday. However, the show was recorded and can be watched by clicking the button below.
Don’t miss out on this exciting experience—tune in from the comfort of your home.

Residency programme

MAISHA started as a musical journey. Responding to an open call for applicants, 12 talented artists from both continents, with different backgrounds & instruments were selected (from 300 applicants) to become musical partners through a 2-week residency programme in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.

Strangers to each other, the crew of outstanding musicians is an ode to diversity. There were seven Africans [Ethiopia (x2), Mali, Morocco, South Africa, Tanzania & Zimbabwe], four Europeans [France (x2), Italy and Poland] and one artist in between the two continents [Hungary/Tanzania].

Guided by a musical director, the group collaborated and co-created 12 original musical pieces in a magical fusion of crossover jazz and world beat. Traditional and modern instruments were blended: accordion, alto sax, bass guitar, clarinet, double bass, drums, electric guitar, flute, kora, Masinqo, mbira, percussions, piano and soprano sax.

From studio to stage

After this process, the combo moved to a recording studio to perpetuate their work in a 12-track album.

To mark Europe Day in May 2019, the historic Addis Ababa National Theatre went through a partial renovation process funded by the European Union to host the first MAISHA show, a sold-out event that still lingers in the cultural memory of the city.

The highlights of the residence and almost 2-hour performance were registered in a 30-minute documentary that can be watched here.

COVID19 happened right after but the musicians chose to remain active in virtual mode. Each artist recorded from home, and a unique performance was put together.

In October 2021, the group stepped on stage again for a public performance at the Kigali Arena, in Rwanda’s capital, followed by a private concert to close the 2nd AU-EU Foreign Affairs Ministerial Meeting in the same city.

MAISHA Music’s last 2 gigs took place in Brussels in February 2022. The first was a public concert at Bozar, Centre for Fine Arts, featuring guest star and music legend from Senegal Youssou N’Dour. The second gig was a private show to a distinguished audience of Heads of States from African and European countries during the 6th EU-AU Summit.

MAISHA Dance

After the enormous success achieved, MAISHA will be continued but re-invented, keeping the same co-creating philosophy. It will embrace different art forms (Dance in 2023; Fashion, Street Art, Painting, Photography, Cuisine, Cinema and Theatre in the years to come). Every edition will kick-off in Addis Ababa and have repetitions in different African capitals, supported by the respective EU Delegations on the continent and in AU Member States.

A call for applicants has already been launched with well-defined criteria to attract dancers, choreographers and artistic directors from both continents. Four dancers from Africa and four from Europe, one choreographer, one assistant choreographer and one artistic director will be selected by a jury through a competitive process.

Through a 3-week residence in May 2024, they will spend time together, get to know each other and collaborate and co-create dance performances. Once completed, they will have a public free-of-charge event in Addis Ababa, showcasing what they achieved as one team.

MAISHA Dance will achieve global recognition and sustainability. The initiative will reach a wide network of festivals, promoters, producers, curators and journalists.
Additional shows will be organised at key celebrations (fora, summits, conferences, Europe Day, Africa Day, Youth Day, etc.).

In order to attract larger audiences, well-known dancers will be invited to join the MAISHA artists in their onstage performances and offstage activities.

In addition, MAISHA dancers will visit dance schools, academies and studios to deliver workshops and exchange with students.

MAISHA: A pinnacle of impactful cultural collaboration

So far, no other project created by the EU Delegation to the African Union has gathered the same amount of attention, respect, appreciation and impact as MAISHA. It’s a strong label that reflects the true spirit of Africa-Europe partnership, co-creation, people-to-people engagement and cultural cooperation.