What Makes a Good Shanty?

I’ve always chalked it up to a lifetime of experience battling the confines of the sea and the ports, plenty of grog and good company. But the Guardian’s Laura Barton traveled to the Falmouth International Sea Shanty Festival to find out for herself. The result? A nice perspective of the shanty and the festival worth reading. Yet another amazing event  the DSN needs to be at! We need a UK correspondent to cover next year’s festival for us. Any takers?

[...] “In the early days, there was no TV or anything, so they sang.” Theirs are traditional fishermen’s songs, reflecting the Dutch island’s history of whaling, and catching what Koster refers to as “little scampi”. There are waltzes and polkas, and the recognisable themes of staying at home when a husband heads off to sea, or leaving loved ones behind.

“My favourite,” says Koster, “is a song about the time that 800 barrels of wine and whisky were wrecked on the beach in 1920. Nowadays we have Twitter, Facebook, email – everyone knows what’s going on straight away. But imagine back then, just one guy going down to the beach and seeing all these barrels drowned in the sea.” [...]

Kevin Zelnio (886 Posts)





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