OneBeat Sahara Fellowship 2021 for Musicians from the Saharan Region (Fully Funded)

Application Deadline: September 2, 2020

PROGRAM: OneBeat Sahara will take place February 8 – 25, 2021.

OneBeat Sahara will bring together 25 musicians from seven countries in the Saharan Region and the U.S. to collaboratively create original work and to develop a global network of civically engaged music initiatives. During this 3-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.


  • OneBeat Sahara will consist of a 12-day residency in Taghit in Southern Algeria, followed by 6 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 involved.
  • OneBeat Sahara is open to socially engaged musicians and sonic artists ages 19-35 from Algeria, Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger, Tunisia, and the U.S.
  • The application is free of cost, and will be open from August 5 to September 2, 2020 (
  • Selected Fellows and Alternates will be notified by October 7, 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.


  • The OneBeat program covers all Fellows’ travel, transportation, food, and lodging.
  • OneBeat also offer a modest stipend. While we are not able to pay performance fees, OneBeat offers Fellows a chance to create new material, establish lifelong musical partnerships and friendships, learn new marketable skills, tour the US, and develop professional connections.

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.

Audio/Video Application Materials:

Applicants should plan to write about their musical background and interests as well as future projects and goals. Applicants will be asked to submit 3-5 samples of their solo and collaborative work (both audio and video are accepted).

Review Criteria

  1. Musical Excellence – A high level of performance, composition, improvisational, production and/or technological skill. Ideally OneBeat musicians will be innovating stylistically, lyrically, or technologically within their musical worlds.
  2. Collaboration – Applicants’ willingness to reach across cultural and musical divides in creating original music or re-interpreting traditional music, while respecting the essence of each tradition. Applicants should be prepared to try new things musically.
  3. Social Engagement – Musicians who have used music to serve their communities or greater societies. This might consist of guiding young people in music education, addressing social or political issues through musical content, reviving dying musical traditions, and more.
  4. Age – Applicants must be between 19-35 years old.
  5. English Proficiency – Applicants should be able to converse in and understand basic English, as it will be the common language of the OneBeat program.
  6. Country or Territory of Origin – OneBeat Fellows must currently live full-time in one of the 8 eligible countries and territories. We also seek applicants who have not traveled extensively or have rarely performed internationally.
  7. Internet Proficiency – Whenever possible, OneBeat Fellows should actively use email and be able to connect to the internet to participate in website-based activities.

For More Information:

Visit the Official Webpage of the OneBeat Sahara 2021 Fellowship



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