Before the Mast
is nine guys who sing a-cappella sea shanties and sea songs.
We're based in Saint John, New Brunswick, on Canada's east coast. 

Since 2008 we have been entertaining audiences around eastern Canada with a unique mix of a-cappella harmonies, stories and lively interactions that connect with audiences of all ages.  

We concentrate on traditional sea shanties, sung in much the same manner as they would have been sung on board sailing ships during the Age of Sail except for some rather unique harmonies and tempos.

Meet the Crew...

Gary Caines

Gary started the group and is still our Captain and "artistic director".
He played in pub bands in the 70's to 90's, performed and recorded an album with Pasadena Glee Club in Newfoundland, and was a founding member of the group Shanachie.  Gary is also the founder of the choral ensemble Northern Voice.

Greg Marquis

Greg Marquis (Quispamsis, N.B) was raised in Saint John where he was exposed to Irish music as a child. After he picked up guitar in high school, he was drawn to rock, bluegrass and folk music and played in garage bands and at coffee houses and variety shows. Many of his favourite folk songs were learned at the Saint John Folk Club. As a professor of Canadian history, he has researched and presented and published on the history of country, old-time and pop music. An original member of Before the Mast, Greg has also attended many sessions of Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann Saint John.

Paul-Emile Chiasson 

Paul-Émile is one of the original members.  He was born in Cape Breton and raised in Antigonish, Nova Scotia, where he was exposed to both Celtic and French Acadian music.  This lead to being a member of several choirs and folk groups.  He also studied classical music until university, where he continued to sing and play in coffee houses and various university and town concerts.  He leads the songs we sing in French, among others.

Rick Clark

Since 2005, Rick has been playing and teaching bodhrán (Irish drum) and singing with Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann Saint John and other groups. He studied folk song writing in Australia and wrote two of the songs performed by the group.

Past Members