Songs / Story
Every song has it's own story. At Citizen Songwriters, every song we write is carefully co-created with participants in projects enabling the skills they learnt to be put into practice. The songs are written about the subjects that matter to people, whether the events that have shaped their lives such as migrating thousands of miles, or the places that have influenced their lives, or the people that have played a role in their upbringing. The process of writing the song itself becomes its own story - a story of people coming together, getting to know each other, sharing something of their lives, learning something different and inevitably journeying somewhere new.
Have a listen to the song on the left-hand side and read more about the stories behind the song on the right-hand side!
The Bridge Across the River - June 2023
People seeking sanctuary in Sunderland have created an animation video for a new song that reflects the city as a safe place for people seeking refuge from war. The music video premiered on Friday 23rd June 2023 during Refugee Week 2023 (19 – 25 June). Refugee Week celebrates the contribution, creativity and resilience of refugees and people seeking sanctuary. This year’s theme is ‘Compassion’ which the organisers describe as crucial as society adjusts to new realities post-lockdown as well as advocating for humane conditions for people seeking sanctuary.
Written and sung by: Stories of Sanctuary Sunderland participants along with facilitators Sam Slatcher and Alex Summerson.
Shildon Town - November 2020
As part of a project commissioned by Greenfield Arts called 'Shildon in Motion', Citizen Songwriters were asked to write a song that captures the extraordinary aspects of Shildon’s past and celebrates the ongoing creativity and ingenuity of Shildon’s people and its future. 'Shildon Town' was the song that was written drawing from the stories of citizens who live today along the historical 'Stockton & Darlington Railway' line that originates in the foothills of the Weardale Valley, includes the train builders at Darlington to the enterprisers in Teesside where goods are shipped abroad.
Written and sung by: Con Yates (Weardale), Shams Mohamed Abdou Moussa (Darlington), Cindy Luo (Middlesbrough) along with facilitators Sam and Alex.
Let Us Be Together - June 2018 (filmed 2020)
'Let Us Be Together' was a collaborative piece, written by participants of the Stories of Sanctuary project, with singer-songwriter Sam Slatcher. The song was based on a poem that Hasna Al Hassoun, a songwriter and poet originally from Homs, Syria wrote in Arabic and then translated into English. In 2016, she was settled in Durham from a refugee camp in Lebanon and has learnt English and writes poems and songs in both English and Arabic. This is Hasna's message to the world, one of peace, harmony and the desire to see all humans as one.
The song was first performed by Hasna, Sam and Raghad Haddad from the National Syrian Orchestra at Durham Cathedral on the 19th October 2018 along with the rest of the Stories of Sanctuary project. The song, along with the rest of the Stories of Sanctuary album, can be purchased in support of Citizen Songwriters on Bandcamp.
Written and sung by: Hasna Al Hassoun & Sam Slatcher, with Raghad Haddad, Eliza Colin Hodges (and Aisha Embalo and Alexandra Summerson in the video)
Like a Butterfly - June 2018
'Like a Butterfly' was written in a community workshop for the Stories of Sanctuary project, bringing together residents of Durham including people seeking sanctuary.
Like a Butterfly The song was first performed by participants of the Stories of Sanctuary project along with Raghad Haddad from the National Syrian Orchestra at Durham Cathedral on the 19th October 2018. The song, along with the rest of the Stories of Sanctuary album, can be purchased in support of Citizen Songwriters on Bandcamp.
Written and sung by: Durham Stories of Sanctuary 'Sanctuary Seekers' Choir