The A Cappella Sea Shanty Playlist

If you are active on TikTok, or social networks in basic, you might have observed a marked boost in balanced shouting on your feeds recently. Seems the young kids have actually adopted a brand-new craze, and it is complex remixes of old time-y sea shanties.

According to KnowYourMeme, the pattern has been increase considering that the summer, and it crossed over onto Twitter a couple of weeks ago when clips of numerous and progressively complicated versions of the song “Wellerman” began to go viral. (If you require yet more proof this isn’t simply a one-off, here is an enjoyable thread of other current examples of the meme.) We here at Lifehacker were method ahead of the TikTok pattern, however: We first released the sea shanty explainer/playlist below back in 2018.

” Sea chanteys are work songs, so they’re developed to collaborate effort in between a group of individuals doing physical labor,” says video producer Jamison Hermann, who sang them while working on ships at the Mystic Seaport maritime museum. “The saying in maritime historic circles is that a great chanteyman deserves ten sailors on a line”– because he helps everybody pull the rope simultaneously. Hermann put over 60 sea tunes– simply the pure a cappella things– into a collective Spotify playlist, Music for Seaports. It’s classic productivity music, good for manual labor. And for those people who work at desks, it’s an exceptional early morning pick-me-up.

Hermann inherited his love of boating and sea music from his uncle Craig Edwards, a folk artist, teacher, and previous director of Mystic Seaport’s Sea Music Celebration. Writing about the festival in Catapult, Blair Thornburgh describes:

Shanties were tunes of utility, developing from the wild, yelping “sing-outs” of working males on the decks to melodies and refrains, polished and honed for heaving or carrying– never pointless, however essential.


The shanty (in some cases spelled chantey or chanty, all originated from the French chantez significance “sing”) is a raw, rough sort of music, a step up from a chant. However if you search for recorded shanties, you’ll find a lot of slicked-up tracks by modern folk singers, stacked high with instrumentation and studio engineering. Even Stan Rogers, the folk singer with the transcendent a cappella variation of “Barrett’s Privateers,” cluttered up the majority of his recordings with mandolin, guitar, bass, fiddle, drum set, and even piano. It’s tough to seem like you’re pulling rope and raising sail when an entire band takes part.

Fortunately, most folk singers will record a minimum of a couple of tunes, sometimes entire albums, a cappella. Hermann picked just singing tracks for his playlist, getting here and there from several albums– including Rick Spencer’s “Sea Songs and Chanteys,” which includes Uncle Craig on background vocals. I’ve included a number of tracks, including “Randy Dandy Oh” from the surprisingly crisp soundtrack to Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag. After you listen, include your own a cappella shanties. You too can be worth ten sailors on a line.

Music for Seaports|Jamison Hermann on Spotify.

This short article was initially published in September 2018 and updated on Jan. 12, 2021 with updated context.

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