Monday, July 9, 2012

Maritime History and the Oral Tradition of Song

July’s Sea Shanty Song Circle and Sing-Along was all I had hoped it would be - and about a lifetime too short. Our shared maritime tradition is so varied and rich that there are simply not enough hours in a day to convey the nuanced history that the age of sail expresses in its oral tradition of song. Still, we sure gave it a go. Everyone present on that glorious Thursday evening laid to and heaved mightily. It was a wonderful gathering and I trust we all left a bit hoarse, but also a little more knowledgeable about the traditional maritime experience. I enjoyed especially sharing the donated local historical artifacts. Singing a line from a song is one thing, but being able to hold in your hand an object directly relating to the subject propels us into a whole new realm of understanding.

I have gladly accepted Lee’s invitation to lead the circle again in December and ask you all to start thinking now about researching contextual tidbits of your favorite song(s). Think about how to distill the data into a few quick phrases to share with everyone (if you wish and the opportunity presents itself). Just as much as I enjoyed telling you a small part of what I know of sailing lore, I loved hearing what you all had to say (and sing!)

Let’s keep it going.

Fair Winds & Following Seas,
Mark Olson