Greetings from Sandblast,
Hope you have had an enjoyable summer and feel recharged again to enjoy the active months ahead. We are now back in action and in this issue will highlight exciting news and developments since our Mid-summer Western Sahara Festival, in July, along with upcoming events which you shouldn’t miss.
Standing Man EP now available!
We are thrilled to announce that the Standing Man EP, recorded in the camps by singer-songwriter Pia de Keyser, is finally ready to be heard by the world.
Standing Man refers to the Moroccan soldiers that have been standing on the 2700km-long military wall in Western Sahara for 30 years. It was recorded at the Studio-Live equipped studio of the Saharawi National Music School by our very own Studio-Live-trained sound engineers. Read more.
Stave House in the Sahara back to the refugee camps
We are very excited that our colleague Violeta Ruano will be returning to the Saharawi refugee camps for 3 months in October for the second stage of the early music education project Stave House in the Sahara. There is still time to become a sponsor of one of the children for only £30. Interested?
Sandblast is delighted to be one of the main partners of this project. We are deeply grateful to Ruth Travers from Stave House for generously donating the programme to the camps and to The London College of Music which has supported the project in various ways. These partnerships along with some amazing support we've received from individual donors has made it possible for things to happen and develop. We're also thrilled to announce that Oxfam Solidarité (Belgium) have recently given €2500 to refurbish a room to create a music-making space for children, in the camp of Boujdour, in support of Stave House in the Sahara. Read more
Fundraising and Run the Sahara
2016 has been spectacular fundraising year for Sandblast. In total, we have raised nearly £30,000 for our project work in the Saharawi refugee camps. This has been thanks to the amazing efforts of our 2016 Run the Sahara runners and also to the generosity of donors who have shown support for our projects in the camps, which currently are:
Saharawi Artivism Fund (SAF), Studio-Live Local and Stave House in the Sahara.
We now have a nice group of runners coming together for the 2017 Run the Sahara race in the Algerian Sahara next February. We hope to recruit at least 5 more people to join before the registration deadline on December 15. Please help us spread the word!. And if you are a former particpant, we would love you to encourage others to join us in 2017.
Donations and Van hunting
This year has also been a great year for music equipment donations made in support of Studio-Live Local. We got a mint-shaped 24-track Tascam mobile recording studio in July and in early September a lovely electric guitar from David in Yorkshire.
Our next big mission is to get all the donations of the past 18 months transported in a donated or second-hand van, down to the camps, by the end of this year. If anyone loves these kinds of ventures and would like to help us please get in touch. We really need it!
Olive Branch Arts Cabaret Extravaganza on Sept 18
Come along for this fun night of fund-raising for their work with youth, women and theatre in the Saharawi refugee camps. Click here to book tickets
Music of Exile film teaser
Have you heard of the upcoming film Music of Exile from the Saharawi of Western Sahara? Directed and recorded by Katch Holmes it will be featured at WOMEX '16 in Santiago de Compostela (Spain) next Oct 21. Click on the pic to watch a short teaser and get inspired by the revolutionary history of Saharawi music!
In 2012, Sandblast launched the Studio-Live project at the Roundhouse Sahara Nights event, to help facilitate the creation of a professional music-making scene in the Saharawi refugee camps, in SW Algeria. Over two years, Sandblast provided sound equipment and trained young adult Saharawis in sound-engineering skills in regular workshops delivered by Sara McGuinness from London College of Music. In this period, we set up a Studio-Live pilot space in the Boujdour refugee camp (one of five refugee camps ) to run the training programme and provide our trainees experience in independent, responsible and collective management.
Since late 2014, Sandblast has been working with the graduated sound-engineer trainees on the ground to set up locally-run and sustainably managed recording studios. To assist in this transition, we are raising funds to provide additional sound equipment resources and offer top-up/refresher training workshops, music mentoring and long-distance technical assistance over the next 18 months.
So far we have received some wonderful music material donations from various sources to assist us in our mission. These have included Imacs, sound cards, keyboards from London College of Music; mics and other sound equipment from Rasha Shaheen; an amazing Tascam 24-track mobile recording studio, midi key-boards and amps from Ayesha and more recently a beautiful Gibson electric guitar from an anonymous donor. This very valuable Gibson guitar donation has inspired Sandblast to launch the PASS IT ON campaign. It aims to get 20 further acoustic or electric guitars donated by May 2017. These will be taken to the camps and awarded to musicians through talent competitions in each of the camps. The remaining guitars will be donated to the locally-run studios and Stave House centres. We have received 2 donations already! Please spread the word and help us reach our target.
Our challenge now will be to transport all the donated equipment to the camps. Our aim is to either obtain a donated transit van or get an affordable second-hand vehicle. Ideally we are looking for one of the following: Mercedes Sprinter, Volkswagon Crafter or 7 seater Landrover Defender. If you have any ideas or can help with sourcing a vehicle please be in touch. We are also looking for additional amps for electric guitars, professional recording mics and mic stands. email@example.com
We are thrilled that the fabulous Standing Man track by Pia de Keyser, done in collaboration with Saharawi artists in the camps, is finally ready to be heard by the world.
You can now listen to a 30 second teaser of the track below. The Standing Man track has been kindly donated to Sandblast by Pia, to help us with our on-going fundraising efforts for Studio-Live.
If you would like to download the the entire 6-minute-long song, we ask that you please make a donation for it, so we can support locally-run recording studios to become up and running in two of the Saharawi refugee camps in Boujdour and Smara in the next 12 months. These studios will be run entirely by our Studio-Live-trained sound engineers. Hurray! We don't want to tell you how much to donate; that will be for you to decide. What we are sure of is you will love what you hear!
Please send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org after you've made the donation and we'll send you the full track.
The story of the Standing Man recording:
Composed and sung by the super-talented Pia de Keyser, this song refers to the Moroccan soldiers that have been standing on the 2700km-long military wall in Western Sahara for over 30 years. It was recorded in the refugee camps in February 2015 by local sound engineer trainee, Shaia Wali, at the Saharawi National Music School in a Studio-Live equipped studio. Shaia was trained over a year period in a Studio-Live programme of sound-recording workshops delivered by the tireless and dedicated Sara McGuinness, who teaches at the London College of Music. Shaia was assisted by Rasha Shaheen, a music teacher visiting the camps for the first time, who also participated in Run the Sahara in 2015. See below the wonderfully quirky fast-paced video she did of the week-long recording session with Pia.
News about Sandblast & Western Sahara