I agree. Great article and photo. Thank you for telling our story, Robin!
Robin Dudley, reporter for the PT Leaders interviewed Mike James, Jay Hagar and friends... "Tug" Buse, Jim Scarantino and Steve Blakeslee, about our Sing Shanties Song Circle and songbook.
Sounds of the Sea Resound - "The skies above Victorian seaports like Port Townsend are accustomed to loud and lusty sea shanties, which are sailors’ work songs. At the Northwest Maritime Center, 30 to 40 people meet each month to sing songs that “echoed across this waterfront like cell phone conversations do today,” said Mike James, one of the acknowledged leaders of Port Townsend’s Sing Shanties group.
People who just want to listen are also welcome at the monthly sing-alongs, and it’s free live music. Beware, matey: when surrounded by voices belting out familiar, repetitive tunes, even stalwart non-singers have been known to chime in. (Almost everybody knows the chorus to “What do you do with a drunken sailor?”)
“When it comes to shanties, you don’t have to sing well, just loud,” James said. “Number one, it’s not a talent show.”
Shanties were developed and sung by sailors who did physical labor requiring concerted effort, often lined up pulling hand-over-hand on a rope, or pushing the bars of a capstan around and around in a circle, raising the anchor.
James has sung shanties at the Northwest Folklife Festival in Seattle, astonished that the 900-seat theater was filled to overflowing when his group took the stage. The songs are so old, people just seem to know them, and performances turn into sing-alongs.
“That’s the crazy thing,” he said. “You sing through one verse, and after the first three words, everybody knows the refrain.” For the full article click here.