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Community songwriters celebrate Sunderland’s diversity for Refugee Week

On Saturday 25th June, 7pm, Citizen Songwriters will host a free performance of ‘Stories of Sanctuary Sunderland’ at Sunderland College, Bede Campus.


To celebrate Refugee Week, Citizen Songwriters, a North East based community songwriting organisation, will be putting on a performance to celebrate the diverse stories of those seeking sanctuary (refugees and asylum seekers) in Sunderland.


The project began last summer when Citizen Songwriters and Sunderland City Council invited recently arrived refugee communities to creatively explore key cultural sites including the National Glass Centre, Bowes Railway and Sunderland Maritime Heritage Museum. From glass makers to pilgrims, from shipbuilders to sanctuary seekers, people have been arriving and shaping the culture of Sunderland for many centuries.


The concert showcases original songs from across the North East as well as new Sunderland stories, featuring a new community scratch choir of Sunderland residents, other local talent, and the musicians of the Citizen Songwriters project, including Raghad Haddad, refugee viola player for the National Syrian Orchestra.


Sam Slatcher, the project coordinator and singer-songwriter said “The North East has a rich folk tradition of people telling their community’s stories through music. The choir will be coming together from many different backgrounds; there will be those who have come to Sunderland fleeing persecution, and others who were born in the city – all who have a story to tell about what sanctuary means to them”

Shams Moussa, one of the directors of Citizen Songwriters, who himself sought sanctuary in the North East, says ‘Music is the universal language that allows people from different backgrounds and walks to come together, without prejudice”.


The project is commissioned by Sunderland City Council and run in partnership with Sunderland College. The new scratch choir which is open to the public begin rehearsing at Sunderland College at 5pm on Thursday 9th June.

* If you would like to join the community scratch choir, please email us here. *


Tickets are FREE - reservations recommended via this link

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