We sing over 100 shanties and sea songs,
ranging in age from 400 years to less than a year!
Here are the backstories from a few of the songs we sing...
Chicken On A Raft
This modern sea song (written in 1967) paints a picture of life aboard a British warship, particularly as the singer complains about breakfast (chicken on a raft, or an egg on toast).
Pay Me My Money Down
Originating in the Georgia Islands shortly after the end of slavery, this one started out as a stevedores song and reminds us that the ex-slaves were often the last workers to be paid.
There is some debate as to whether this capstan shanty originated in American south or with French-Canadian voyageurs. There are many versions, and it was also popular with the U.S. Calvary.
Il y a question si ce chant de marin, ou, «cabestan» trouve ses origines en Amérique du Sud, ou avec les voyageurs Canadiens-français. Il y a plusieurs adaptations de ce chant et il a été aussi populaire avec le calvaire de l’armée américaine à l’époque.
Haul on the Bowline
This short haul shanty is one of the newer additions to our repertoire, but it is amongst the oldest ones we do. It dates back to at least the late 1500's.
Bully In The Alley
There is an alley in St. George's, Bermuda, known as Shinbone Alley. Legend is, the sailors would be so drunk that they'd crawl out of the pubs, skinning their shins!
This dates back to 1708. It was originally called Jack Hall but the name changed in the 1840's. Jack was trained to be a climbing boy, with the job of cleaning chimneys from the inside. He later turned to crime and was hanged in 1707. The tune is borrowed from the shanty Captain Kidd, which was first sung in 1701.
Santiano / Santy Anno
The original of this capstan shanty dates back to the 1840's. It's an example of a shanty that was adopted in different languages. We sing English and French versions.
L’origine de ce chant de marin, appelé un «capstan» (cabestan en français) date des années 1840. Cet exemple d’un chant de marin a été adapté, traduit dans plusieurs langues. Nous chantons les versions anglaise et françaises de ces chansons.