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!
Dear friends and supporters,
Much has happened since the start of 2016. In this late spring edition of our newsletter we are thrilled to share an update of new projects we're supporting and the launch of both SAF and Run the Sahara 2017.
Launch of Saharawi Artivism Fund (SAF)
Sandblast director Danielle recently returned from the Saharawi refugee camps where she worked in close partnership with SCAP Campaign, a local grassroots group, to launch SAF (Saharawi Artivism Fund). Aimed at Saharawi civil society, SAF seeks to support projects that are volunteer-based to encourage activism and community engagement in the camps, especially among the youth. SCAP are a youth-led movement created in 2015 to protest the illegal exploitation of Western Sahara's natural resources. Together we selected the first 5 volunteer-based initiatives to get funding through SAF in 2016:
With Christmas fast approaching, Sandblast HQ is more buzzing than ever! With some of us going off to the desert to introduce new music education project 'Stave House in the Sahara', and others getting ready for their trips early next year for Run the Sahara 2016 (we'll be 14 people!!!), it's all preparations & gift wrapping.
But the biggest gift of all is knowing that we and the Saharawis can count on the support and energy of so many amazing people who have helped organise events, fundraisers, and projects this year. Seriously, we've been truly overwhelmed! THANK YOU for being there for us.
We're now tapping into your holiday spirit to inspire you to give in different ways... and get something in return! This Christmas, give your friends and family one of Sandblast's solidarity gifts. You can choose between a ticket for a fantastic concert, an exhibition catalogue, a Sandtracks CD & more! Check out OUR SHOP for details.
We wish you a fantastic festive season, Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!
The Sandblast Team
Winter is definitely coming! Or at least in London... brrr! And we hear that in the Saharawi refugee camps the cold has also arrived, so our thoughts are with all the families still in the process of rebuilding their houses after the devastating floods last month.
To take the cold away, today we bring you lots of exciting news!
We are over the moon to announce that our Fundraising Campaign for the Saharawi Flood Crisis reached the fabulous amount of £4000. This has already been sent to the Saharawi Red Crescent. Thank you!!
We are excited to announce a series of events we're organising this autumn to commemorate the 40 years of the Saharawi struggle for self-determination in collaboration with various collectives and two vibrant London venues, Bolivar Hall (Venezuelan embassy) and Hundred Years Gallery.
Through photography, film, music and much more, Africa's Last Colony - 40 Years Not Forgotten aims to remember the most important events that have shaped the history of the conflict inWestern Sahara, as well as to showcase the valuable role of UK-based artists in raising awareness about this underreported issue.
We're so excited to announce that today 15 UK runners are joining the Sandblast Team in the Saharawi refugee camps to participate next Tuesday in the 2015 edition of the Sahara Marathon. They'll stay with a Saharawi family for a week, experiencing life in the desert and the best hospitality you can get. They'll also visit the Studio-Live project on the ground to see what they are raising funds for.
This year we have set up shop in the studio space of the Saharawi National Music School where our runners will meet our wonderful sound engineers-in-training and witness some recording sessions. Our aim with the funds raised through sponsorship of the UK runners is to build a sound engineering training centre next to the music school and expand our programme. Please show your support and help us reach this goal by sponsoring one of our team runners at Just Giving - Run the Sahara 2015.
News about Sandblast & Western Sahara