A NORTH-East musician has tapped into a city’s history of providing sanctuary to people in need through a project working with Syrian refugees.

Folk singer and songwriter Sam Slatcher has been working with people from across County Durham on the project, as well as volunteers from Durham City of Sanctuary, which has been providing aid to Syrian refugees as they resettle in the area.

He has now produced an album, which was created through a series of workshops, which will be released ahead of a concert at Durham Cathedral.

The 28-year-old, from Durham, said: “After the first workshop I couldn’t believe how cohesive the group was.

“We had an amazing sense of community and being part of something. That has carried on through the whole process.

“People have really got to know each other.”

He added: “My aim was to not just work with musicians but people who enjoy and are passionate about music.

“We’ve had people who had never really sung before in the studio to record the album and they’ve really enjoyed having the microphone in front of them.”

Around 20 people were involved in workshops, with around 10 of them taking part in the studio recording.

Mr Slatcher decided to try and run the project, which was given Arts Council funding, after attending a concert by members of the Syrian National Orchestra at Empty Shop, in Framwelgate Bridge, Durham, last year.

He was also a volunteer at Durham City of Sanctuary, helping newly arrived Syrians with language classes and in January made a song and music video based on Durham’s history as a place of sanctuary for those seeking it at the cathedral.

He said: “I has such an interesting reaction from people who were really moved by it.

“That made me think it could be told by other people and by people who had fled the war in Syria and through sharing those stories people could come together and get to know each other and mix with people from different backgrounds.”

The album combines contemporary folk, medieval and Syrian folk music.

Mr Slatcher will perform the songs alongside other members of the group and guest musician Raghad Haddad, a viola player from the Syrian National Orchestra, at a concert at Durham Cathedral.

It takes place on Friday, October 19, starting at 7.30pm and tickets are available from www.wegottickets.com/event/448205.

It is hoped further performances will take place in Chester-le-Street and Newton Aycliffe, and possibly further afield.