A project to empower Saharawi voices through music

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

Studio-Live training workshops in the camps

Over the next few years, Studio-Live will be providing resources and training so that the refugees will become equipped to record, produce and showcase their music at professional levels and be better able to preserve their rich oral heritage. 

Sandblast is 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). Training opportunities are largely targetting women and youth, who make up more than 70% of the camp population.

Click here to see our short video about the experience of the Saharawi refugee students participating in our training workshops.

Currently, exciting links are being developed with the London College of Music  to further the aims of Studio-Live. Discussions are underway for the provision of music teaching resources and training in music education and music business as well as the setting up of an international accreditation system for music learning in the camps.

Main activities:

  • Technical skills-training through sound engineering workshops, both for recording and live.
  • Professional workshops to build instrumental, artistic and music-business skills. These workshops aim to provide a global understanding of the way the music industry works.
  • Creating a music resource library to make instruments and sound equipment available for 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 as 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 through the internet
  • Good local and international radio outlets for Saharawi music and culture.
  • Know-how to run commercially viable local and international music events 
  • 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

What we’ve achieved so far:

Since 2012 we have delivered 8 training workshops. In this period we’ve seen the blossoming of a fine group of young adult sound engineers. This pilot phase has been important to help us understand many realities and challenges on the ground. We now seek to consolidate and expand the project. The plan for the next year is set up a a permanent centre in Boujdour and set up a community run training centre in another camp to reach more artists and have greater impact.

We need your help to do this so please BECOME A FRIEND OF STUDIO-LIVE. Donate a regular monthly amount so we can :

1. Cover the running costs of the training centre (around £250/month-includes staff salaries, small training bursaries for the 5 students plus costs of internet, electricity

2. Deliver training workshops (each one costs around £1200 for a two to three week long workshop)

3. Build a new training centre and deliver more sound and recording equipment (estimated at £10,000)

Even a regular £10/month contribution will make a difference to ensure we have internet for the centre. Don’t think about it any longer. It’s easy. Just click on the icon below to show your support!

Click here to read full project.

 We’d  love you to get in touch or leave your comments below. But if you are inspired by the work we are doing then 


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