We are so thrilled to announce that London's exclusive dance studio Inspiration 2 Dance has just announced that they'll be dedicating their upcoming fundraiser SUMMER SIZZLE Dance & BBQ Party 2017 next June 24 in London to Sandblast. THANK YOU!!
Our connection with Inspiration 2 Dance comes from our Founding Director Danielle Smith, who's really passionate about dancing and has had a close relationship with the school since late 2015.
Sandblast has decided to pledge all funds raised through the SUMMER SIZZLE Dance to the music and English education project Stave House in the Sahara, which has just finished their very successful second stage with over 25 children passing their certified Stave House Level 1 Music Awards. Congratulations! During its third stage (Sep 2017-May 2018), Sandblast will be the main sponsor of the project, so we need all the help we can get to make it a reality! For that, we've just set up a new JustGiving fundraising campaign. Check it out!
Our partner project Stave House in the Sahara has just finished its second stage with a fabulous End Of Year Party in which the children have performed a few songs and had some sweet treats to celebrate a very successful year. Over 25 students have recently passed their Stave House Level 1 Music Awards, which will be fully certified by the London College of Music (University of West London) through Stave House. Congratulations!! How exciting!
Sandblast is now in conversation with Stave House in the Sahara to provide sponsorship for their third stage, which will begin in September 2017. Stay tuned for updates!
In the remote desert of southwest Algeria, a young Sahrawi refugee is filling discarded bottles with sand to build shelters that better withstand the harsh climate.
Original text by Russell Fraser published on UNHCR website on January 11
TINDOUF, Algeria – With a master’s degree in energy efficiency, Sahrawi refugee Tateh Lehbib Breica had originally planned to build an energy efficient home in the desert, using discarded bottles for a roof garden.
But as the roof’s circular form presented construction challenges, the 27-year-old found himself left with numerous bottles which were no longer good for their intended purpose – growing plant seedlings.
“I asked myself ‘What can I do with these?’” says Breica, who was born and raised in Awserd refugee camp, attended university in Algiers under a DAFI scholarship, and later studied for his master’s at a Spanish university.
WATCH VIDEO ABOUT PROJECT HERE
Original text in Spanish published by Poemario por un Sahara Libre yesterday 23rd January.
UPDATE: Please note that the trial has been postponed again until early March.
Summary: EIC Poemario for a Free Sahara on information and photos and Saharawi activists of human rights, January 23, 2017
According to the last hour reported by Sahrawi human rights activists, the trial of prisoners of #GdeimIzik has been postponed for tomorrow January 24 at 10 am. The judicial record of the prisoner Mohamed Layoubi has been separated from the rest of the group and his trial has been scheduled for March 13, 2017. (Layoubi Mohamed has been admitted to a hospital of AGADIR and because of that disease has been released on parole, even though he was sentenced by the military court to 20 years in prison.)
Numerous Sahrawis gathered this morning in front of the court awaiting trial against the prisoners of Gdeim Izik in Salé, Morocco, with banners in Arabic and Spanish supporting the prisoners and condemning their unjust detention. According to eldiario.es the Spanish lawyers Travieso, Sebastián, Adolfo and Serrano have acted as observers in the trial, after the initial retention of lawyer Francisco Serrano.
Spanish media such as RTVE and Cadena Ser have been present at the gates of the court; they interviewed the Saharawi activist Ahmed Brahim Ettanji (Equipo Media). Other Saharawi activists such as Brahim Dahn (ASVDH), who has also spoken to the press, were also present.
In El Aaiun there have been intense demonstrations in connection with the re-trial of Sahrawi political prisoners of the Gdeim Izik group. The solidarity movement in Spain and France mobilised to demand the immediate release of Saharawi political prisoners by organising about 20 demonstrations (Algeciras, Alicante, Barcelona, Bilbao, Jaen, Jerez de la Frontera, Madrid, Oviedo, Palma de Mallorca, Las Palmas Of Gran Canaria, Pamplona, Tenerife, Santander, Lanzarote, Seville, Valencia, Vigo, Zaragoza, Granada, among others). For its part, the Saharawi community in France has concentrated in Paris.
They cut the Internet connections around the Salé court during the trial of the Sahrawi political prisoners of GdeimIzik
EQUIPO MEDIA. January 23, 2017
Moroccan authorities cut off Internet access in all areas around the Court of Sale, where the trial of the heroes of Gdeim Izik is taking place, in an attempt to silence the case, once they found that many assistants Began to hang pictures and videos on social networks, supporting the prisoners and their families, Equipe Media contributed to show what happened by broadcasting live and reporting through Facebook, although it was interrupted by the cut in the network, We were able to verify that this cut in the communications has applied it to a radius of approximately one thousand meters, increasing the area of interruption of the communications that used the previous time
EQUIPO MEDIA. January 23, 2017
The Saharawi boy Kamal Laroussi, son of the political prisoner Abdul Jalil Laroussi, was the victim of the impact of a bottle, thrown by one of the Moroccan agitators present, they tried by all means to provoke the Saharawi assistants, after realizing the success that was With the follow-up to the Judgment of the heroes of #GdeimIzik both in the place and in the social networks and the many samples of solidarity with them, the Moroccan police present in the place, I take no action despite the protest of the assistants Saharawis.
We, the relatives of the #SharawiPoliticalPrisoners, associations of #HumanRights solidarity movement and the Saharawi people, support the #GdeimIzik group, denounce their imprisonment and demand their freedom. We denounce the military joke trial that took place in February 2013 and this new civil trial joke. We demand their immediate release and that the international community intervene to safeguard their rights.
Original text in Spanish published by Poemario por un Sahara Libre yesterday 23rd January.
Key Bay case: Polisario Front lodges a complaint with the European and French authorities
For a strict application of the judgment of 21 December 2016
The Polisario Front is paying close attention to the conditions under which the Key Bay vessel, which has embarked fish oil at ElAaiun, will be obliged to comply with European law, as recalled in the judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Union on 21 December 2016, which must be fully enforced.
Thanks to the action, on the spot, of Pilar Alvarez, Deputy Mayor of Las Palmas, and Florent Marcellesi, MEP, all information is now available. The Key Bay stopped in Las Palmas (Spain) to fill up fuel, and during this short period of time, the Guardia Civil was able to see the documents allowing transport. It appears that the authorizations were issued at ElAaiun, under Moroccan occupation, which establishes the violation of international law. Indeed, there has been fishing for the Saharawi waters, then their transformation into oil, then embarkation, all under so-called Moroccan authorizations, with the aim of placing on the European market products for human use. Such products can only enter the European market if they are accompanied by certificates of origin and health guarantees drawn up by the administration of the State of origin.
In its judgment of 21 December 2016 the Court held that Morocco and Western Sahara were separate territories of distinct sovereignty and that the agreements concluded between the European Union and Morocco could in no case be applied In the Western Sahara. Thus, the products allegedly Moroccan but which actually come from the Saharawi waters and the port of ElAaiun can be exported by European companies and access to the European market only with the authorization of the Polisario Front, the sole representative of the Saharawi people. Mr. Mhamed Khadad, member of the leadership of the Polisario Front, said: "This concerns all waters under Saharawi sovereignty and all port boats since ElAaiun. Morocco is the occupying military power, subject to the Fourth Geneva Convention, and has no right to issue export authorizations ".
Yesterday, 16 January 2016, MEPs - Mrs Florent Marcellesi, José Bové and Bodil Valero (The Greens) - formally seized Mrs Mogherini, High Representative of the European Union, Mr Malmstrom, European Commissioner for Trade and Mr Moscovici , European Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, of violations of European law that would be committed if the Key Bay could proceed to the landing of a cargo coming from the Saharawi waters and a Saharawi port.
Mr. Mhamed Khadad announced on January 17th that the Polisario Front will file a complaint with the European Commission and the customs authorities in France within 48 hours to ensure that European law is respected: "We hope for dialogue, but we are determined To enforce the judgment of the Court of Justice ". According to the officially published road map, the Key Bay must arrive in Fécamp in France at the end of this week. The French customs authorities would violate European law by admitting the landing of products which are not guaranteed by valid certificates of origin, then Morocco is not sovereign at ElAaiun.
The Polisario Front asks the European Commission and the customs authorities to draw up a report of the illegality of this export and that the cargo be seized in accordance with the requirements of European customs law.
Bir Lahlou, January 17, 2017
Original text in French published by Barbara Weingarter on Facebook (see below).
- English: http://www.wsrw.org/a105x3725
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