A Sandblast production in collaboration with Stave House & Hundred Years Gallery
On July 2nd, London-based arts and human rights charity Sandblast will join forces with acclaimed UK music academy StaveHouse for a multi-arts mid-summer Western Sahara Festival. The event will highlight the on-going 40-year-long plight of the Saharawi refugees in the Algerian Sahara and present recent efforts to bring early music-learning to the area. The charity will also launch Run the Sahara 2017, known internationally as the Saharamarathon, which takes place annually in February. UK participants raise funds for Sandblast’s music and youth projects in the refugee camps.
Image left by Violeta Ruano
Eye-opening film premiers, photography, music and poetry will offer something for every taste in Hoxton’s Hundred Years Gallery. A presentation of the Stave House in the Sahara pilot project will be made by ethnomusicologist Dr. Violeta Ruano. She leads the project to implement music education in English in the Saharawi primary schools in the refugee camps and is working in close collaboration with Ruth Travers, the creator of the Stave House music-learning system based on storytelling. The Run the Sahara 2017 launch will feature testimonials from former participants. Potential candidates will be able to register on the day to either run or walk 5, 10, 21 or 42km and spend a week hosted by a local family in the refugee camps, experiencing the legendary hospitality and stories of the Saharawi people.
Unforgettable mentally and physically. I would recommend this journey to anyone as it changes your point of view. Tomasz Laczny, 2015 runner
The English premiers of “Battalion to my Beat” by Eimi Imanashi, and “The Desert of the Deserts” by Samir Abujambra’s will provide potent contexts to understand the Saharawi struggle. The former, a short fictional film tells the story of a young Saharawi girl who wants to become a revolutionary soldier and the latter is a fascinating, original account of Saharawi culture and the history of the conflict in Western Sahara. The evening will conclude with a collaborative performance of two artists who have both been to the Saharawi refugee camps. Poet Sam Berkson will recite original poems and translated Saharawi poems from his poetry book “Settled Wanderers” accompanied by darbouka player Karim Delalli playing irresistible Algerian beats.
Sandblast is an arts and human rights charity working with the indigenous people from Western Sahara, the Saharawis, whose identity and culture is threatened by the impact of exile and Morocco’s occupation. Sandblast’s mission is to empower the Saharawis to tell their own story. www.sandblast-arts.org
Stave House, developed by UK-based music teacher Ruth Travers, is a versatile music teaching method that is being used extensively in primary schools in the UK and elsewhere around the world (there are schools using the method in the USA, China, Greece, Nigeria and other countries. Please see www.stavehouse.co.uk). The method has been approved and certified by the London College of Music (LCM, University of West London), and children trained through it (in theory, singing and instrument playing) are regularly assessed by LCM examiners in order to further their careers.