Stories of Sanctuary

by Sam Slatcher and the Sanctuary Seekers

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about

*PLEASE NOTE* If you would like to buy a copy of the Stories of Sanctuary album, there are limited copies available on the Citizen Songwriters Bandcamp site:
citizensongwriters.bandcamp.com
£10.00 FREE P&P
All proceeds to Citizen Songwriters to support the future work of songwriting with marginalised communities to enable them to share their story through song.

"Poignant, touching, hopeful and full of humanity" (Steve Pledger)

Stories of Sanctuary is a community songwriting project bringing those seeking sanctuary together with others living in County Durham through exploring stories of sanctuary past and present. The songs have been co-written by singer-songwriter Sam Slatcher with participants from the workshops in the summer of 2018 in the city of Durham, UK.

The Sanctuary Seekers are all in some way seeking sanctuary. The majority of the group fled the civil war in Syria and today live in County Durham. For some, their ‘sanctuary’ was sought for others reasons: from broken families seeking new homes, to international students exploring the North East’s history, to sojourners seeking some sort of
homecoming to the Celtic landscape of the North East. All are pilgrims of a kind…

"As you journey with Sam and his collaborators through Stories of Sanctuary you will experience an album of great beauty, peace and musical depth" (Gareth Davies-Jones)

The project was funded by the National Lottery via the Arts Council’s Grants for the Arts Programme.
Please visit www.citizensongwriters.org/stories-of-sanctuary to find out more.

Facebook @StoriesofSanctuary
Twitter @SanctuarySongs

credits

released November 9, 2018

The album was recorded at Studio One, County Durham (UK) by producer Ron Angus. Music and arrangements written by Sam Slatcher (except track 6).

Raghad Haddad, viola player from the National Syrian Orchestra, appears on tracks 4, 5, 6, 7 and 9.

The Sanctuary Seekers consist of thirty people, with Hasna Al Hassoun, Sabah Al Hassoun, Rania Al Ali, Sheila Alty, Eliza Colin Hodges, Amna Al Ali and Fatima Al Karbi featuring on the album.

All photography by Simone J Rudolphi, except images on pages 1, 4 and 6 taken by Mohammed Almasri.

Artwork designed by Teodor Tranca with Sam Slatcher.

Lyrics to tracks 3 and 10 interpreted by Israa Daoud.

All rights reserved, copyright Sam Slatcher and the Sanctuary Seekers 2018.

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about

Sam Slatcher Durham, UK

Sam Slatcher is a folk singer-songwriter living in Durham, North East England. His honest and reflective songwriting, delivered with a calming and delicate voice captures the warmth of humanity and a longing for peace and justice.

To date, Sam has released his first EP 'In Unlikely Places (April 2018), the collaborative album 'Stories of Sanctuary' (Nov 2018) and 'Chaos & Solitude' (May 2020)
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Track Name: So May We Find Peace
Like a swallow as she’s flying by the season
So may we find peace.
Like a butterfly that leaves a darkened room
So may we find peace.
Like the moon that pulls the waves across the ocean
So may we find peace.

Like the ship that makes its way towards a safe shore
So may we find peace
Like somebody who is calling at your door
So may we find peace
Like the pilgrim who has walked this way before us
So may we find peace.

Oh tahta al-sama nahnu na’eesh (Under the sky, we live)

Like a swallow as she’s flying by the season
So may we find peace.
Like a butterfly that leaves a darkened room
So may we find peace.
Like the moon that pulls the waves across the ocean
So may we find peace.

Oh tahta al-sama nahnu na’eesh (Under the sky, we live)
Track Name: Sam Slatcher - City of Sanctuary (Intro)
A thousand years ago on an island in Northumbria
Dragon ships arrived in the darkness of the night
Monks they did flee and took all their treasure
And carried carefully, the sleeping refugee.

With his body growing heavy, they took it as a sign
To rest him on a hill, that soon became a shrine
Hundred years later and it would be known
You could knock and you could find a safe place
from the snow.

In these ancient streets, there’s a heartbeat of sanctuary
All are pilgrims of a kind. In these stones you’re not alone,
there’s a place to be
In the city of a thousand years,
In the city of a thousand more
In the city of sanctuary.
Track Name: Hasna Al Hassoun - Haddi ya Baher
Arabic:

هدي يابحر تراث 
هدي يا بحر هدي طولنا في غيبتنا
ودي سلامي ودي للارض اللي ربتنا
وسلملي على الزيتونه 
على اهلي اللي ربوني
وبعدا امي الحنوني بتشمشم بمخدتنا
سلم على بلادي تربة بَي وجدادي
وبعدوا العصفور الشادي بغرد لعودتنا
وخدي سلامي يا نجوم
عالبيادر والكروم
وبعدا الفراشه بتحوم عم تستنظر عودتنا
واحمل لبلادي سلام
لخوالي ولكل العمام
وبعدوا زغلول الحمام عشوا على توتتنا
هدي يابحر هدي طولنا طولنا في غيبتنا 
ودي سلامي ودي للارض اللي ربتنا

English translation:

Calm my sea, calm! We have been away for quite some time
Send my regards to the land that raised us 
Greet the olive
Greet my family who raised us 
Does my kind mother still smell our pillows?
Greet my country, the land of my father and ancestors
Does the bird still sing for our return?
Oh stars, take my greetings. 

Are the butterflies still flying around waiting for our return?
Give my greetings to my country
And all my uncles 
Is the nest still in the branch of the tree? 
Calm my sea, calm! We have been away for quite some time
Send my regards to the land that raised us .
Track Name: Shadow and I
Shadow, where are we going tonight?
As you grow and out run those searching lights
Somewhere alone in the Serbian snow
All I know, yellow line in the road
Oh shadow, only you and I around.

Shadow, I’ve been talking to you my friend
I follow, but don’t know where the journey ends
You kiss the face of sleeping souls
That lie beside, this long windy road
Oh Shadow, it’s only you and I around.

Shadow, are you going to let me down?
Shadow, only you and I around
You’re going out as the sun goes down
And darkness falls, on this refuge of mine
Oh shadow, it’s only you and I around.

Shadow, when you’re gone in the night
Shadow, there’ll be a glimmer of light
Soon the road will be yours once more
And soon the sun will show you the way
And the borderline will no longer define us,
And the shadow returns
With the sun now at its height
The shadow becomes
This story of mine.
Track Name: Let Us Be Together
Let us be together, let us dream as one
We become more beautiful, when we find our song

We live under the same sky
We breathe in, the same air
We bleed, from the same skin
Our difference, not between us, but within

Let us be together, let us dream as one
We become more beautiful, when we find our song

The words that we speak, like a river running dry
But our hearts do bleed and they cry
But there’s a language of love, so deep
And the roots run deeper, than we ever could speak

Let us be together, let us dream as one
We become more beautiful, when we find our song
Renew the day with love, sweet love
Let us be together, let us be as one

Life’s too short for anger or hate
And tomorrow will be too late
You only have today in your hands
So plant the seeds of love in every land

Let us be together, let us dream as one
We become more beautiful, when we find our song
Renew the day with love, sweet love
Let us be together, let us be as one
Track Name: Like a Butterfly
Sometimes it can be hard to say goodbye
I’ve been living in a cage, for a little while
Lost my home, lost my friends, lost my freedom
I’ve been uprooted but the door is open wide.

Oh I haven’t any wings, but I can try
Try to fly, dance like a butterfly
Oh I haven’t any wings, but I can try
Try to fly, dance like a butterfly.

These new streets I walk and breathe have set me free
The city I came to offered sanctuary
But the longing is painful and oh I miss my home
But I know, I do not walk alone.

Oh I haven’t any wings, but I can try
Try to fly, dance like a butterfly
Oh I haven’t any wings, but I can try
Try to fly, dance like a butterfly.

I may have lost it all, but I’ve not lost my soul.

Oh I haven’t any wings, but I can try
Try to fly, dance like a butterfly
Oh I haven’t any wings, but I can try
Try to fly, dance like a butterfly.

Music and lyrics by The Sanctuary Seekers
Track Name: Hasna Al Hassoun - Al Sham ya Mohjata Galbi
( الشام يامهجة قلبي )
الشام يا مهجة قلبي دمتي للهوا ذخرا
قومي حبيبتي واقتلي اليأس والقهرا
لا تركعي واقتلعي الأشواك بيديك 
لا تتراجعي وازرعي ورود الأمل في كل 
شوراعك وبيوتك 
نحن لن ننساك لا تنسينا يامقلة عيني
مهما طالت غربتنا وكبرت مآسينا انتي في قلوبنا تسكنينا 
اه يا وطني المقتول والمسلوب والمسروق اه يا وطني

English translation:

Oh Sham, my heartbeat, you will always be the highest.
Get up my love, and kill the despair and oppression.
Don't bend and extract the thorns by your hand.

Don't go back but plant flowers of hope in all your streets and houses.
We won’t forget you, don't forget us oh the apple of my eyes!
No matter how deep is our foreignness, and no matter how big are our tragedies, you will be in our hearts.

Oh my stolen and killed home. Oh my home.
Song written and sung by Hasna Al Hassoun
Track Name: Sam Slatcher - Swallow and Saint
Swallow and Saint
One day a swallow flew
Into the room where you
And I had been dancing round and round.

Thousands of miles we've come,
Under the same old sun
Flying like swallows do
To find a way through.

Caught in the window pane,
Someone had felt her pain,
Everyone rushed to set her free.

Someone had climbed a chair
Someone could barely stare
Someone had reached their hands
To hold and care

And as she flapped around
Her delicate wings unbound
Everyone held their breathe to see

And our hands reach out,
Holding back wire frame
Figuring out, how we can let you go
In the evening light, over northern skies
Where our friendship lies
And the saints will rise, and they whisper
"I am in the miracle of the blue and gold
As her wings unfold, to the open sky”

Oh when a swallow flew
Into the room where you
And I had been dancing
Round and round
Track Name: Sam Slatcher - City of Sanctuary (Outro)
In these ancient streets, there’s a heartbeat of sanctuary
All are pilgrims of a kind
In these stones you’re not alone, there’s a place to be
In the city of sanctuary.

Walking through these streets, the market place, the library
The bridges and the railways and the university
The scholars and the buskers, the pilgrims on the road
The city’s arms are wide, where all can find a home.

In these ancient streets, there’s a heartbeat of sanctuary
All are pilgrims of a kind
In these stones you’re not alone, there’s a place to be
In the city of sanctuary.

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