Announcing OneBeat Sahara

OneBeat Sahara will bring together 25 musicians from seven countries in the Saharan Region and the United States to collaboratively create original work and to develop a global network of civically engaged music initiatives. During this three-week program, OneBeat Sahara Fellows will explore black diasporic musical traditions that traveled from Africa to the Americas, and back to Africa again. This program will focus particularly on the elements of these artistic traditions and their links to North African music — both ancient and contemporary — which create a cultural power based in resilience, creativity, and mutual support

Inspired by the world’s largest desert, the theme of OneBeat Sahara 2021 will be silence, both as a form of oppression and a source of power and creative awareness. As 2018 OneBeat U.S. alumnus Chakib Bouzidi, put it: “The desert is known as a vast place, given over to emptiness and solitude. When we come into harmony with this vast landscape, we can more clearly articulate each sound, more precisely recognize each gesture, each movement, and hear the breath that surrounds us in the midst of great silence.”

OneBeat Sahara will consist of a 12-day residency in Taghit in Southern Algeria, followed by six days of public events and social engagement work in Taghit, Bechar, and Algiers, including a performance at the renowned Bechar Gnawa Festival. OneBeat Sahara Fellows will lead community workshops with underserved youth in these regions and develop strategies that can be applied in their home communities. The performances will target a wide range of Algerian audiences, and will find compelling ways to trace the historical and modern connection between all eight countries.

OneBeat Sahara is open to socially engaged musicians and sonic artists ages 19-35 from Algeria, Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger, Tunisia, and the United States. The application is free of cost, and will be open from August 5 to September 9, 2020 ( ). Selected Fellows and Alternates will be notified by October 30, 2020.

All programming and performance dates are contingent on the development of COVID-19 and may be subject to change pending the evolving international situation.

OneBeat is a constellation of music diplomacy programs that began in 2012 and has worked with hundreds of socially engaged musicians from over 50 countries. OneBeat Sahara is an initiative of the U.S. Department of State Department of Educational and Cultural Affairs, produced by Bang On A Can’s Found Sound Nation, in partnership with The U.S. Embassy Algeria, with additional support from The U.S. Embassy in Libya, The U.S. Embassy in Mali, The U.S. Embassy in Mauritania, The U.S. Embassy in Morocco, The U.S. Embassy in Niger, The U.S. Embassy in Tunisia, and the Algerian Ministry of Culture. The program will be artistic directed by OneBeat alumni including Domenica Fossati, Haile Supreme, and Chakib Bouzidi, with support from OneBeat staff.

Download the press release in French and Arabic