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!
THIS SATURDAY July 2nd we have so many exciting activities prepared for our Mid-summer Western Sahara Festival (Hundred Years Gallery, E2 8JD, 4-9.30pm).
Among them we'll present two exciting projects in the Saharawi refugee camps:
This summer, in collaboration with Stave House music academy, we invite you to a heart-warming and eye-opening evening of film premiers, photography, talks, music & poetry for the Saharawis of Western Sahara. Come and join us in our mid-summer festival to learn more about the situation in Africa's Last Colony and the awareness-raising and educational projects we're currently developing in the Saharawi refugee camps.
Tickets are just a £5 suggested donation to help us cover the expenses of the event.
This year's Run the Sahara has been an incredible success! A group of 15 Sandblast runners from the UK and the US travelled with the Sandblast Team to the Saharawi refugee camps last February 20th to participate in the Sahara Marathon (Feb 23rd). Together, they had been fundraising as a team for over 6 months, raising the incredible amount of £14,063.37.
Visit our Run the Sahara 2016 Team Page to see for yourself!
This money will be used to reconstruct some cultural buildings destroyed during last year's floods, and to fund our exciting new project, the Saharawi Artivism Fund. Stay tuned for updates!
Curious to know about our trip to the Saharawi refugee camps? One of our runners, Beccy Allen, has just published her experiences on the World Travel Guide. Read here!
UPDATE (Mar 6): You can also have a peek at the Sahara Marathon official website, where they have just published a summary of this year's marathon week with some amazing stories!
In July 2015, UK-based charity Sandblast Arts launched Run The Sahara 2016, taking place at the end of February, next year, in the Algerian Sahara. This international solidarity race, known as the SaharaMarathon, supports the indigenous Saharawis of Western Sahara, the majority of whom are refugees based in desert camps near Tindouf in SW Algeria. Funds raised for the charity go to its Studio-Live music project in the camps.
Next year's race coincides with the 40th anniversary of the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR,) self-proclaimed on February 27 in 1976. Recognised by over 80 countries world-wide, the government in exile, based in the camps, represents the collective aspirations of the Saharawis for independence in Western Sahara. The territory was colonised by Spain for a century, but upon its withdrawal was then occupied and forcefully annexed by Morocco in 1975. This sparked a mass civilian exodus and a 16 year long war with the Polisario, the Saharawi liberation movement.
Run The Sahara is Sandblast's annual awareness and fundraising event. It promotes the Sahara Marathon, the world's most prestigious solidarity race organized in a refugee camp. This unique and inspiring international race takes place in the Algerian desert in aid of the Saharawi refugees and raises funds for our Studio-Live music project.
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.
Sounds and Souls for Run the Sahara 2015
@ The Forge in Camden
3-7 Delancey Street
London NW1 7NL
November 11, 2014, 6.30pm
An evening of music, photography and short film presentations to promote Run the Sahara nextFebruary 24th. The international solidarity run helps raise funds for Sandblast’s Studio-Live music project in the Saharawi refugee camps (SW Algeria), where close to 200,000 Saharawis live. Music programme will feature performances by singer song-writers Renny Jackson, Pia de Keyser and Luzmira Zerpa of Family Atlantica. All three have visited the refugee camps and felt inspired by the situation. Renny will premier his Free Western Sahara song, recently lauded by Guardian columnist George Monbiot. Pia is currently crowd-funding to record her first EP in the camps. Striking images by photographer Olivia Mann - a former Run the Sahara participant - will be projected and exhibited.
Tickets will be £5 at the door (or book tickets in advance on www.forgevenue.org) - all money raised goes straight to the Studio-Live project!
More info about Run the Sahara here.
Here’s something to inspire you…
I’ve always been a sporty type, football being my main interest, but I got into long-distance running a couple of years ago. I’d always wanted to run a marathon and had watched the London Marathon on TV ever since I was a kid, wondering if I could do it.
In Nov ’09 I was lucky enough to get a place on the New York marathon. The day was amazing. I achieved a time of 3:36 hours which, for my first marathon, I was really happy with. Not long afterwards I was offered a place through my work to run the London Marathon the following April ’10. Having enjoyed the New York so much I jumped at the chance and managed to achieve a time around London of 3:24 which I was thrilled at. Suddenly I was hooked! The buzz from crossing the finish line is something that is difficult to put into words.
I found myself surfing the internet looking for what other marathons there were around the world. Before I knew it I’d set myself a personal challenge to run a marathon on every continent. Having ran on two continents already, I started to look at possible marathons for the remaining 5 (including Australasia)…
News about Sandblast & Western Sahara