Sea Shanties Returning in Conifer

A sea shanty playlist on Spotify


A sea shanty playlist on Spotify

       A sudden trend of people listening to sea shanties emerged from seemingly nowhere. Tik Tok has revitalized the genre, with Nathan Evans credited for his rendition of “The Wellerman” which has caused people around the world to listen to his variation of this classic.

       “I first heard about the sea shanty phase through an NPR article, which says more about my love of NPR than it does my knowledge of current trends,” Social Studies teacher Owen Volzke said. “The song they played sounded fun so I figured I’d look it up and see what I found.”

       Sea shanties originated in the mid-1400s and continued evolving throughout history. They are work-songs sung onboard a ship and typically have something to do with the sea or sailing. These songs are sung to keep a pace or to lighten the mood onboard the ships when they are out on sea for months on end. They are a way to keep people together by singing…  even during a pandemic.

       “I think that sea shanties are popular at the moment because it is something absolutely ridiculous yet incredibly fun,” Volzke said. “Likely their popularity is some reflection of how we are feeling at the moment as a result of dealing with the issues arising from the Covid-19 crisis.“

       With everyone being quarantined at home during the pandemic songs that unite people have become popular. Acapella band The Longest Johns have brought these ancient songs to a modern time by recording shanties and publishing them on Spotify, making these old classics readily available.

       “I first discovered sea shanties when Volzke brought up the Tik Tok trend of people making sea shanties, so I decided to look it up and found it really interesting,” AP World History student, Keagan Lafferty, said.

       While social media platforms like Tik Tok have spread this trend word of mouth has been just as instrumental. People are playing sea shanties for one another and have also begun performing their own versions of sea shanties, giving them a new life.

       “I asked Mr. Volzke if he would give me extra credit if I made one, and he said yes, so I did,” Lafferty said. “It was really fun, and as someone who loves writing and making music, I enjoyed the experience.“