Mr. Masefield wrote "I must go down to seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky, and all I need is a tall ship and a star to steer her by...."
Chantey. Chanty. Shanty. Shantey.
No matter how you spell it, sea shanties were work songs sung aboard ships to help coordinate and synchronize the work efforts of the various jobs on the ship. Halyard, pump, windlass, short haul, bunting and capstan shanties all have specific rhythms and tempi. "Cape Cod Girls" is a pump/windlass shantey. "Blow the Man Down" is a halyard shantey. "What Shall We Do With a Drunken Sailor" is a roll 'n' go. "Shenandoah" is a capstan shantey.
The Shanteyman will bring a bit of 'sea fever' to your school, library or organization. Through music, poetry, movement, stories and participation, your students/clients/members will get a flavor of "The Music of the Sea." For example, your yacht club members might enjoy a presentation of shanties.
The program is geared toward elementary and middle school-aged children and is highly participatory. However, adults enjoy the singing and information as much as children! Audience members are enciuraged to sing and will be able to play in a ‘fufu’ band, an improvisational group of players on pots and pans! Or, they will use a light block-and-tackle in a fun tug-of-war to experience the mechanical advantage of simple machines.
The sheer amount of music of the sea is as wide as the Atlantic and as deep as the Pacific. Aside from shanties, sailors sang forebitters, which were ballads or popular songs of the day. Stephen Foster's “The Camptown Races” and “Hard Times Come Again No More” were particular favorites of the men on board. The Shanteyman will accompany himself on concertina, harmonica and spoons.
It’s difficult to capture the tedium and danger that 19th century sailors faced on a daily basis. “One hand for the ship and one hand for yourself...” was an inviolable rule. It meant to hang on to the railings or rigging at all times but have the other hand to work the ship. But, The Shanteyman will bring along projections of sailing vessels and the nautical simple machines to provide a glimpse of this sea-going life that is such a part the Ocean State's heritage.
The Shanteyman will come to your school, library or civic group with a multi-media presentation to inspire and entertain any audience. Audiences will learn more about simple machines and the mechanical advantage they provided for sailors before the advent of powered machinery. We'll sing and call out, we'll learn about capstan shanties, halyard shanties, roll 'n' goes, short haul shanties...well, you get the idea!
You can expect a highly participatory and fun assembly or program when you sign on with The Shanteyman.