It’s 2021, and Sea Shanties are “trending” online – who could have expected that!? Since roughly the end of December, TikTok has seen a major boost in interest in videos of people not just singing sea shanties, but crafting impressive, a cappella arrangements of the tunes traditionally sung by crews on merchant sailing ships.
Sea shanties date back to at least the mid-1400s. Singing together and keeping rhythm would help crews stay synchronized for tasks like hoisting sails, when everyone needed to be pushing or pulling at the same time. Typically, there would be a main singer, or a shantyman, and the crew would come in on the chorus.
One of the original purposes of the sea shanty was to create a sense of community and shared purpose, so grab the attention and engagement of your students by teaching some shanties this spring!
A-Roving arr. Norman Luboff, TTBB with piano
“A-Roving” is also sometimes known as “The Maid of Amsterdam.” A classic shanty set by master arranger Norman Luboff.
Heave Away arr. Stephen Hatfield, SSAATB a cappella
“Heave Away” is an old foot stomper from the Newfoundland docks that can be heard performed both by traditional ensembles and rock bands. It is also featured in the musical “Come from Away.”
Reflections of a Lad at Sea by Don Besig & Nancy Price, 2-part with piano
The roar of the sea and smell of the salt air comes to life in this suite of three sea chantey-like original works. Titles include: “The Captain’s Mate,” “Thoughts of Home,” and “The Ghost Ship.”
Bound for the Rio Grande arr. Alice Parker & Robert Shaw, TTBB a cappella
As recorded by The Robert Shaw Chorale on their 1961 album “Sea Shanties.”
Let the Bullgine Run arr. Alice Parker, TTBB a cappella
This vigorous, humorous, traditional sea chantey is guaranteed to delight both singers and audiences. As performed by Cantus.
A Maid That’s Deep in Love arr. Stephen Hatfield, SA divisi a cappella
This is one of many ballads where a young woman follows her sailor or soldier love by disguising herself in men’s clothes and jumping into the thick of the action. Frequently, she proves herself braver and more resourceful than the other soldiers and finds herself desired by men and women alike – often, as in this case, by her superior officer. Our heroine handles her lovesick captain with admirable tact, but also with a compassion that suggests that one of the lessons to be learned in all the gender-blending confusion is just what a strange and unpredictable journey love can really be.
We’ll Rant and We’ll Roar arr. Mark Sirett, TTBB with piano
A variation of the English sea shanty “Spanish Ladies,” “We’ll Rant and We’ll Roar” is one of Canada’s best-loved folksongs. This shanty should be performed with a bold swagger, full of life and a sense of humor.
Feller from Fortune arr. Harry Somers, SATB with piano
This rollicking folk song from Newfoundland has moxie and flair, with a humorous text and dancing rhythms in a variety of meters. A popular choice for more advanced choirs, it is a tour-de-force that will bring smiles to everyone in your audience.
Six Sea Shanties arr. Sheena Phillips, SSA with piano
Rarely are women’s choirs given such strong and heroic songs to put their mark on. These offer a wonderful opportunity for your women’s choirs to show their dynamic and emotional ranges. Volume 1 includes “Santiana,” “Boney,” and “The Dead Horse,” and Volume 2 includes “Blood Red Roses,” “All for Me Grog,” and “Time to Leave Her.”
Who knows what the next online musical trend will be? Contact us for more brainstorming ideas, and shop Stanton’s for all your sheet music needs!
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