In 2010 UK charity Sandblast invited FairTunes to work on a studio project with them in the Saharawi refugee camps close to Tindouf in Algeria. Studio-Live aims to kick start the music industry in the camps and launched in June 2012.
Sandblast is a London-based arts and human rights charity that was established in 2005 by anthropologist and photographer Danielle Smith. It works with the refugees from Western Sahara, a dispossessed and marginalised community that live in harsh desert camps in SW Algeria. They lack a voice and visibility and have been struggling for their right to self-determination over more than three decades. Danielle started Sandblast after her long involvement working with the Saharawi people in the camps since 1991.
Due to the long period of time that the Saharawi people have been displaced from their homeland the younger generations are slowly losing their culture. Music and song is an important part of their cultural history and memory. By providing studios in which to record music, song and spoken word we believe we can help the Saharawi to preserve their cultural heritage for generations to come.
FairTunes Director Steve Stavrinides represents the project for FairTunes. Steve has in depth knowledge of live music set ups and in October 2010 he travelled to visit the Sahawaris to see how we could help them. The first visit, generously sponsored by Sandblast, seeded the plan to establish studios and live music facilities in the camps and was dubbed ‘Studio Live’.
The idea behind Studio Live is to focus on all live aspects of music production. The Saharawi participants will learn how to event manage, set-up live events and engineer music live. Steve and Director Nick Minton, an experienced music producer and sound engineer, are personally overseeing the teaching of this.
Following up from Steve’s r&d visit, the second trip aimed to take the first important steps of the Studio Live project. Sandblast also sponsored this second trip and contributed £10,000 for the purchase of the sound equipment. Some of the equipment was also generously donated by Noise Control Audio and was sent in a van (donated to the project by Chris Beer – thank you!) via international aid convoy that left from Alicante on the 18th February, two weeks ahead of their visit..
During the trip Steve, Nick and Danielle enlisted local personnel to take part in the workshops and eventually manage the project themselves. They also up a live sound-system and were able to record live music in the camps for the fist time in 35 years.
Read all about it in Steve’s blog.