St John's C of E Primary School

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Cornwall - Sea Shanties 10.5.21

HRH Prince Charles is married to Camilla who has the title 'The Duchess of Cornwall'. Cornwall is a county in the South West of England. Cornwall is famous for its impressive beaches, coves and fishing villages. 


It has a musical tradition of Sea Shanties. These are traditional songs which you can't help tap your foot to or join in with singing. They came about in about 1800s and were used to motivate and speed up work onboard large ships. A sea shanty would be sung whilst undertaking onboard work. The shanty usually has a leader, known as 'The Shanty Man' - who would make the melodic shout, and the sailors would respond in verse, whilst undertaking the task.


These songs are not just from Cornwall - they originate from all over the UK.  They are popular in Corwall though  - and may be heard sung live in pubs on an evening by the fishermen and the locals. A film called 'Fishermen's friends' showed the rise to fame of one group from Port Isaac. Here they are singing the sea shanty classic 'South Australia' adn 'John Kanakanaka'. 


A Sea shanty which has been made famous recently is 'The Wellerman'. It is originally from the 1800s and is a New Zealand sea shanty. It's about a whaling crew waiting for "sugar and tea and rum" to arrive from Australia. the Scottish singer Nathan Evans posted his version on TikTok. It has received millions of views and many other users on Tiktok have uploaded their own versions. 

Port Isaac's Fisherman's Friends - South Australia

John Kanakanaka. Fisherman's Friends at Glastonbury 2011.

Nathan Evans - Wellerman (TikTok Sea Shanty) | Official Audio