Jen Steven’s Dialect Song Commission


Jen Stevens – photo by Jordan Embleton


I heard this on You Tube and instantly wanted to know more. The song is tells the story of these times in a pandemic but 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.

The Word, National Centre for the Written Word, in South Tyneside is supported by Arts Council England and Muse Developments.

Northumbrian Word’s Project is an organisation celebrating the Northumbrian dialect –

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.

But now we can learn those words thanks to Hadaway Ga’an Canny, which tells the story of life in lockdown.

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 Arts Council England.

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.”

To view the song click here

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