Stories Of Sanctuary
“These new streets I walk and breathe have set me free
The city I came to offered sanctuary
The longing is painful, oh I miss my home
But I no I do not walk alone”
“Let us be together, let us dream as one
We become more beautiful, when we find our song”
These are the words of two new song that were written at a songwriting workshop by Syrian refugees living in County Durham. Run by Durham-based singer-songwriter Sam Slatcher, the ‘Stories of Sanctuary’ project explores the city’s history of offering people sanctuary as well as people’s experiences today of fleeing from war in Syria.
The group consists of thirty people. Some young, some old. Some having lived in Durham all their lives, others recently arrived. What they have in common, however, is that they have been working together to create lyrics and music to tell their stories of finding sanctuary in the city of Durham. New friendships have come about as a result of writing music together. The songs not only shed light on difficult experiences, but offer a message of hope.
In recent years, a handful of Syrian refugees have been settled into Durham County. This is part of Durham’s rich history of offering sanctuary to those who need it. And of course the very city we know today exists because of the arrival of a group of monks over a thousand years ago carrying the body of a refugee. The much loved saint – Saint Cuthbert – was brought off Holy Island by his dearly loved community, after being invaded by the Vikings.
The songs will feature on an album currently being recorded.
On the 19th October, the songs will be performed at Durham Cathedral along with Raghad Haddad, viola player from the National Syrian Orchestra, along with Sam and some of the group.
Full details and booking: http://www.wegottickets.com/event/448205
Photo: SJ Rudolphi