Songs of Sanctuary is a fusion of classical Syrian music and contemporary folk songs performed by folk songwriter Sam Slatcher and Raghad Haddad from the National Syrian Orchestra, the musicians from the Stories of Sanctuary project.
Songs of Sanctuary is a stripped back and intimate arrangement of the Stories of Sanctuary songwriting project that brings together people from different backgrounds – including Syrian refugees and long term residents of County Durham – through writing originals songs. The repertoire includes many of the songs from the wider Stories of Sanctuary project arranged for guitar/piano and viola alongside ancient Syrian folk tunes and some of Sam’s more recent songwriting on the theme of sanctuary. This year, Sam and Raghad opened the official Refugee Week celebrations at the V&A in London with ‘Songs of Sanctuary’ (hosted by Counterpoints Arts) and have performed at the Migration Matter’s Festival in Sheffield as well as Leicester Cathedral.
In Autumn 2019/Winter 2020, Sam and Raghad are seeking to partner with theatres, concert halls and music venues across the UK to host a ‘Songs of Sanctuary’ performance. The performance includes up to 2 sets of 45 minutes, with a variety of original songs from the Stories of Sanctuary project as well as unique arrangements of classical Syrian folk songs. Please get in touch with Samif you would be interested in hosting Songs of Sanctuary.
Raghad Haddad is a highly accomplished viola player from the Higher Institute of Music in Damascus. She was a member of the Syrian National Symphony Orchestra and has performed in the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra conducted by Daniel Barenboim. After seeking refuge from the Syrian civil war in the UK in 2016, Raghad now performs with the Orchestra of All Saints MAS in Brighton and the London Syrian Ensemble.
Sam Slatcher is a folk singer-songwriter living in Durham, North East England. His honest and reflection 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 a debut EP ‘In Unlikely Places (April 2018) and curated the album Stories of Sanctuary (Nov 2018). Sam frequently performs across Northern England and sings and plays guitar, piano and bouzouki.
“The deftness of collaboration is the most striking element, bringing forth the voices of those who are often overlooked and unheard through music” – Songlines
“Timely, emotional and beautiful” – Sean Cooney, The Young’uns
“Songs of Sanctuary speaks loudly of hope in the midst of difficulty and hardship, light in the midst of dark and dangerous times.” – Gareth Davies-Jones