A new folk song – telling the story of these times – has been created using traditional North East words and sayings.
Hadaway Ga’an Canny is one of a trio of songs, commissioned by The Word, National Centre for the Written Word, at South Shields and written and recorded by local artist Jen Stevens.
And it is inspired by the vast library of words donated by the public and gathered by The Word for its hugely successful Word Bank of Lost Dialects exhibition.
Although rarely heard now, every one of the 2400 words and phrases which formed the exhibition would once have been part of everyday language in the shipyards, mines and in street games and social gatherings.
Now, some of them have been brought to life in Hadaway Ga’an Canny, which tells the story of life in lockdown.
The song consists of three verses, interspersed with a chorus of:
“Hadaway, ga’an canny, wuh new life wain’t be lang,
“Wi gotta stay inside the hoose, family aall amang,
“Think aboot the gannies, who cannit fight so well,
“We’ll keep them safe and warm me bairn so dain’t on fear ye dwell
“We’ll keep them safe and warm me bairn so dain’t on fear ye dwell.”
Jen, who is currently working on the two other songs which make up the trio, said it had been “a great project to be involved with.
“The aim was to keep our dialect alive,” she said, “and to move it forward in a contemporary way.
“And I think that a song that reflects current life for everyone in lockdown will really resonate with listeners.”
The songs form part of a wider digital celebration of the North East dialect planned by The Word, sponsored by the Northumbrian Words Project and supported by Arts Council England.
🎶Hadaway Ga’an Canny by Jen Stevens 🎶
A song commissioned by us and written and performed by local singer/songwriter @JenStevensMusic which uses the North East dialect and tells a story of life in lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
— The Word (@TheWord_UK) February 24, 2021
The plan is to release them in early March during an online celebratory dialect day hosted by The Word and Andy Bogle, from the Northumbrian Words Project, who said “it was about capturing a language that is in danger of being lost forever.
“Increasingly we communicate via technology,” he said, “and this will make it harder for written dialect words to survive.
“But people have recorded events in song for centuries and it is great to be helping continue that tradition.”
Cllr Joan Atkinson, Deputy Leader of South Tyneside Council with responsibility for Culture and Leisure, said: “The North East dialect is such an important part of our heritage, as are the shipbuilding and mining industries where these terms and phrases were once commonplace in everyday conversations.
“Many of these traditional words are rarely heard anymore and are at risk of disappearing forever. To hear them used in a song about present times really brings them alive again while reigniting an interest among our younger generations.”
The video is available on YouTube https://youtu.be/PUVVAToebYs and it can also be downloaded via https://we.tl/t-JBUjWPr9fn
Further information can be found at www.theworduk.org.