APRIL 6, 2021 6:00 PM Eastern
"TikTok's Sea Shanties ZOOM into Maine"
What Are Chanteys and Why Do They Matter?
Featuring Two Long-Time Outstanding Sea Music Scholars & Performers
Bob Madison, formerly of U. S. Naval Academy & Mystic Seaport
Jerry Bryant, sea music performer extraordinaire
Pembroke, Maine, has been at the center of the sea shanty revival in Downeast Maine for over a dozen years, with monthly "Chantey Sings" drawing loyal and enthusiastic support, so it figures that the Pembroke Historical Society is taking a lead in the current shanty revival, which it will with an exciting chantey program on April 6th.
The most unexpected recent cultural phenomena is the all-pervasive popularity of "sea shanties." TV hosts, rock stars, and teenagers, who half a year ago would laugh at chanteys, now embrace them, while TikTok creates "sea shanty" choruses. Is this the start of a traditional music revival, or a fad that trivializes sailors' songs, soon to be forgotten? Perhaps it will result in a widened appeal for a form of singing that tens of thousands have already been embracing, on the non-commercial margin of society since at least the 1950s. Time will tell, but for now, this is what educators call "the teachable moment."
There's a lot of misinformation in the shanty craze. To begin with, the TikTok super hit sea shanty, "The Wellerman," is NOT a chantey; so, what is it? Did Pirates sing chanteys? Are chanteys from Scotland? Are shanties four of five hundred years old? Why did sailors sing chanteys? Are all sea songs shanties? What does the movie "Fisherman's Friend" get right? What does it get wrong? How many chanteys are there? And, why does this description keep going back and forth between shanty and chantey?
The answers to these and many more questions about the living tradition of sea music will be found when the Pembroke Historical Society presents a singing discussion on Tuesday, April 6th, at 6:00 PM Eastern, on Zoom. The program will feature nationally recognized chantey scholar and performer Bob Madison, Professor Emeritus at the United States Naval Academy, and a founder of the Chantey program at Mystic Seaport. Jerry Bryant, who grew up in Caribou, Maine, has long been a favorite with sea music audiences in both concerts and lectures. Pembroke's own Stephen Sanfilippo has been singing chanteys for nearly 50 years, and taught maritime history through historic sea songs at Maine Maritime Academy. Jim Sherman, of Machiasport, a long-time singer of all sorts of sea songs, and Kris Paprocki, researcher and performer of historic songs of Washington County, will also take part in the presentation. The audience will be invited to ask questions and take part in the discussion.
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