Music-making for freedom

A project to empower Saharawi voices through music

Shueta from Tiris recording, Photo by Karim Dellali

Summary: Studio-Live aims to facilitate the building of a local music industry in the Saharawi refugee camps that can become internationally recognized and be a creative hub.

We are working in close partnership with Saharawi artists, the cultural authorities based in the camps and UK-based music professionals such as Sara McGuinness (University of West London), Andy Coules (Live Sound Training) and Sam Jones (Soundthread). The project, which is forming links with the London College of Music, intends to provide material resources, expertise and training in technical, artistic and business skills. Over the next few years, the refugees will become equipped to record, produce and showcase their music and preserve their rich oral heritage at professional levels. Training opportunities will target women and youth, who make up more than 70% of the camp population.

Main activities:

  • Professional workshops to build instrumental, artistic and music-business skills. These workshops will aim to provide a global understanding of the way the music industry works.
  • Technical skills-training through sound engineering workshops, both for recording and live.
  • Creating a music resource library to make instruments and sound equipment available for rental to all Saharawis seeking to pursue their musical ambitions.
  • Setting up and running recording studios in each of the refugee camps to professional standards. These would be a community resource and also support current efforts to record and preserve the threatened Saharawi oral traditions, envisioned by the mission of the International Observatory for the Protection of the Cultural Heritage in the Western Sahara.

First pilot Studio-Live recording centre in Boujdour camp

  • Stimulating international collaborations with Saharawi musicians, and strengthening their ability to promote themselves through new distribution channels.

Main outcomes:

  • Growth of artistic profiles on the internet promoted at professional levels and visibility of Saharawi music on major playlists
  • Digital production of high quality music in the camps and its distribution and sale through the internet
  • Existence of good local and international radio outlets for Saharawi music and culture.
  • Know-how to run commercially viable local and international music events in the refugee camps
  • Pilot blueprint for an international music festival planned and managed by the refugees themselves for the benefit of the community to promote a sustainable cultural artistic scene in the camps

Click here to read full project.

We welcome any ideas and/or suggestions, so please get in touch or leave your comments below!


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