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.
2013 closes as a fantastic year for Studio-Live. We hope the next year is even better!
September 2013 – A second Studio Live workshop in sound recording concluded on Sept 18 with a showcasing of music tracks recorded and mixed by our fabulous technical team being trained in the Saharawi refugee camps, near Tindouf in SW Algeria. The music was played through the PA Stagepas 660i newly acquired by Sandblast for the project. Our founding director, Danielle, who had arrived a few days earlier, was there to hand out certificates to the six students (3 boys and 3 girls) after completing the intensive 12-day training period with Sara McGuinness. Numerous musicians also collaborated during the workshop to take advantage of the opportunity to be professionally recorded and give a chance for the students to do practical exercises in how to run a recording session. The workshop was set up this time in the headquarters of the Saharawi youth organisation, known by its acronym the UJSARIO, in the camp of Boujdour. This has been possible thanks to the official invitation and facilitation offered by female governor Ezza Brahim to hold the Studio-Live workshop in her newly established camp.
At Sandblast we've been busy throughout the first half of the year developing the different strands of our music empowerment project Studio-Live. Here's a summary of activities:
January 2013 – The Sandblast Team travelled to Vitoria-Gasteiz (Spain) to help coordinate a Historical Encounter of Saharawi Musicians living in Spain at the Music Conservatory of Music ‘Jesús Guridi’. The meeting, organised in collaboration with legendary revolutionary singer Oum Reghia, gathered more than 40 musicians and cultural figures, including singer Oum Dleila, musician Bachir Sidi, composer and guitarist Ali Mohamed, poet Ali Salem Iselmu, and young musicians Yslem and Lehsen, among many others. Studio-Live was presented for the first time in Spain. Throughout the day, interesting conversations sparkled around Saharawi music, its role in the struggle and its current state. The day-long event concluded with a concert in the evening, given by a number of the attending musicians, who delighted the audience with legendary songs such as ‘Sahara is not for sale’, by Oum Reghia, and ‘A song to the martyrs’, by Oum Dleila, who had not sung in more than 8 years.
2012 has been an incredible year for the development of our music empowerment project Studio-Live. Here we give you a summary of what we've been up to so far!
February-March 2012 – The Studio-Live team, made up this time of Danielle and Violeta Ruano (Sandblast), spent two weeks in the camps. We participated in Run the Sahara 2012 as part of the UK group who were raising funds for Studio-Live. The trip included a cultural day organized by Sandblast where all the runners could enjoy learning about Saharawi traditions and music with fantastic group Salwan. We also interviewed different musicians across generations about their ideas, dreams and aspirations, discussing Studio-Live and the development of Saharawi music in the near future with them, and gaining a much better idea on the best way for them to take full advantage of the project. We visited the recently inaugurated ENAMUS and learned about the work they plan to develop there. Music director Leily and coordinator Lebsir introduced us to the students and showed us the facilities, including the space where the recording studio is being set up. Sandblast also provided the means to install Internet in the school and discussed possibilities for a more reliable source of energy than the current generator.
Now that we've just come back from the Saharawi refugee camps after another wonderful trip, here we give you a summary of our Studio-Live music empowerment project so far:
September-October 2010 – The Studio-Live team, made up of Danielle Smith and Steve Stavrinides (Fairtunes), travelled to the camps for the first time to meet with the Ministry of Culture and establish a partnership with them for the project. This was the occasion when agreements were made to provide training for live concerts, as this was identified as a priority by the Minister, and also to assist in equipping of the studio that would be set up in the new Saharawi National Music School (ENAMUS) that was being built in the camps.
March 2011 – We came back with new member Nick Minton (Fairtunes) to do recordings of established and emerging Saharawi musicians, such as traditional music group Tahadi and new band Zeeza. We also did a short session with Tiris, who are developing incredible new material. London-based Algerian darbucka player Karim Dellali joined us to see how he could contribute his skills. In the second week of the trip, we were ecstatic about the arrival of the Sandblast-Fairtunes donated van full of sound equipment for live, which was stored in the Ministry of Culture to be used in the first training workshops.
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