English premiere of “Life is Waiting: Resistance and Referendum in Western Sahara” & Panel discussion
London-based charity Sandblast is organising a series of multi-media events to highlight the ongoing 40 years-long plight of the indigenous Saharawis from “Africa’s Last Colony”: Western Sahara. This former Spanish colony was forcefully occupied by Morocco at the end of 1975, provoking mass exodus into harsh refugee camps in Algeria and denying the Saharawis their self-determination dreams.
“Life is Waiting: Referendum and Resistance in Western Sahara”, by Iara Lee of Cultures of Resistance (2015), offers a brilliant account of the struggle through the lens of artistic and youth activism in Africa’s last colony. The film screening will be followed by a panel discussion led by journalist Sean Williams, with participants from the UK, Western Sahara and Venezuela. They will discuss future perspectives and explore why the underreported conflict in the Western Sahara eludes resolution.
As part of the series, Sandblast is hosting a fantastic music and spoken word event in solidarity with the struggle in Western Sahara. This multi-artistic benefit concert includes some of London’s leading performance artists such as Family Atlantica Quartet and Grupo Lokito, who have been to the Saharawi refugee camps and collaborated with local artists there in various projects. Come join this fabulous party and learn more about their creative experiences in the desert!
Singer-songwriter and actress Pia de Keyser will open the evening with a performance of her beautiful compositions from her first EP (currently in post-production). This was entirely recorded in the Saharawi refugee camps in collaboration with local musicians and Studio-Live sound engineers in February 2015 (see below).
Luzmira Zerpa and Family Atlantica Quartet will bring to you the best Afro-Venezuelan vibes in London. Luzmira visited the refugee camps in 2008 for FISAHARA the only film festival to take place in a refugee camp and performed with Manu Chao, who supports the Saharawi struggle. Throughout the past two years, Family Atlantica have been sharing their exuberant dancing rhythms with the London public and beyond. Some highlights are: Royal Albert Hall, Shambala Festival, Womex, Womad, Passing Clouds, Hootananny and many many more!
“One of the most impressive acts at the festival, as arresting as any of the large international acts.” (The Evening Standard, WOMAD 2013)
Labelled as “a really great record” by Giles Peterson, their debut album Family Atlantica, winner of the Best Newcomer Album Songlines Award 2014 has been taking the UK stages by storm!
Another fabulous act we have prepared to get you dancing like there is no tomorrow is Grupo Lokito, the best Cuban-Congolese fusion in London. Formed in 2006 by British Latin pianist Sara McGuinness, who has been numerous times in the Saharawi refugee camps teaching sound engineering and building desert recording studios, and Congolese singer Jose Hendrix Ndelo, Grupo Lokito’s energetic front-line of singers are true performers. And when the groove steps up a notch in the blistering salsa and seben sections, their outlandish dancing has to be seen to be believed!
“… an uplifting set of songs with all the rich Congolese vocal harmonies, spicy soukous guitar lines and Cuban salsa rhythms that they do so charmingly well on stage.” (Rose Skelton, Songlines Jan/Feb 2011)
All money raised goes straight to Sandblast’s music project Studio-Live based in the camps.