Sea Shanty, Sea Chantey

In just the last few weeks, I’ve learned that sea chanties (shantys) are a hot item on the Internet.

Isn’t it great? Folks are discovering the power of singing, and the power of singing sea chanties? And they are of all ages.

While a Pandemic spreads sadness around the world, observing no boundaries, killing many innocent people, it heartens me to know that there is something positive circulating.

I’ve been singing sea chanties forever. My friends often tease me. They say sea chanties are always about tragedy, sinking ships, and hard times. They are right. And that is how the sailors got through their day. They sang songs about adversity. But best of all, and the most important fact is: That is how they rose above their challenges.

Isn’t that we are doing now? We are rising above hard times and smiling about it.

Here are some links. Believe me there are whole lot more out there if you Google.

New York Times

Washington Post

NPR Radio

The Guardian

The Guardian

Sea chanties were songs sung by sailors in the days before diesel and gasoline, when ships were powered by the wind and the might of men raising and lower sail. Their ships traveled the globe and their songs went with them. No boundaries, no ethnic, cultural problems were on board when it came to their making a ship safe and getting to her destination. Crews and their captain worked hard.

Folks are spelling it “shanty,” which is fine. We in the United States have long spelled it “chantey, ” which comes from the French word to sing.

In New Zealand, Australia and Great Britain they spell it shanty, where this Internet story’s biggest fans reside. This is fine, no matter how you spell it. Right?

In the 19th century sea chanties by their nature, traveled the world more than any other music. They were sailor’s work songs, to help the crew stick to a necessary rhythm. They were entertainment in the days before radio, television and Global streaming. They were songs of fellowship and suffering. It is good to know that in a rough journey, the fellowship of singing could make the load easier.

So, today, we are all relearning the power of fellowship and about sharing in the hardship of the day.

My attraction to sea chanties arose out of my love for music and the sea. What a wonderful way to connect, song, poetry, prose and sailing? Every song is a story.

My sea chantey recordings, my CDs, are popular this winter. I’ve never experienced so much attention and shared my songs with so many people. With this rise in a love for sea songs, I am a beneficiary. Folks, new friends, are streaming my songs on all the services: Spotify, YouTube, Amazon Music and even Pandora.

And you know what is most heartening, the ages. Young people are listening. These songs are being revisited around the globe. Here are some media stories about it. I get the statistics. The listeners are in their 20s and 30s, mostly.

Like in the day, these songs travel the world. In the past songs were passed from one sailor to another, passed from one ship to another, passed from one seaport to another. Today it is Tiktok, Instagram and Facebook.

No one will ever get rich from singing these songs. No one will ever go to Madison Square Garden just to hear a sea chantey singer. Still, the world is a better place when we are all listening and making our own live music with friends and family.