Monday, January 23, 2012

February Song Circle and Sing-Along - 1st Thursday!

Join us for our 2nd Sea Shanty Song Circle and Sing-Along of 2012 on Thursday, February 2 from 6:00-8:00 p.m. at the Northwest Maritime Center in Port Townsend.

Welcome back Mike James, the Shifty Sailors, Tugboat Bromberg, Judith-Kate Friedman, Helen Gilbert and more... I'll add more names as they come in.

The flyer is for you to print and share. Invite your friends!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Off to a good start!

The feedback we're getting from our first Sea Shanty Song Circle and Sing-Along has been great! Here are some of the comments I've received via email and read on Facebook:

Last night was incredible! - Jake Beattie, Executive Director of the Northwest Maritime Center
Last night in Port Towsend was fun! The Northwest Maritime Center down on Water Street hosted their first-ever "sea shanty" song circle. More than 100 people turned out. Matthew Moeller, Tugboat Bromberg and Mark Iler joined in. Mike James was the host/MC. And unexpected delight came when Shauna, former cook of the Lady Washington, gave us a rollicking rendition of "Government Ship", aka "Ten Thousand Miles Away." It looks like this shanty-sing is off to a good start! -  Hank Cramer
We Shifties really enjoyed the musical gathering last eve in P.T. There were tunes new for some of us and methinks roundly loved by ALL of us. See you next month... an excellent experience it was. - Wylie of the Shifty Sailors
The chantey sing was great! I hope we have as great a turnout next month. I, for one, will be there. - Tug Bromberg
What a great way to start the year and a joy to be with everyone – and to make many of your acquaintance – for the first time - in song and sound if not yet in conversation. Looking forward to the next ones, which I hope to be able to regularly attend.  - Judith-Kate Friedman, Director of Songwriting Works
A hearty and heartfelt AAAAARGH!, and many, many thanks to all of you who traveled from afar to help us PT-ites kickoff our shantey song circle at the Maritime Center. Your interpretations of traditional numbers… or your parodies, as well as your originals, and willingness to include the crowd, added real flavor to the program. I've heard nothing but positives about the experience. All of you helped to tap into a spirit of musical community that seems to have been overlooked in our modern times. The room was at least as full at the end of the evening as it was at the start… Wonderful! - Mike James
And read what Helen Gilbert has to say on our Sing Shanties blog post TheRafters resounded!
More fun than expected! Easy to participate even for non-singers. Looking forward to next month.  - Susan
 This was one of the funnest events in my time in PT – truly! And I can’t wait till next month.  - Lynn
I had a blast! A foot-stomping good time. Looking forward to February! - Sheila
Join us for the first time or join us again on Thursday, February 2, from 6:00-8:00 p.m., at the Northwest Maritime Center Cafe for another free, "foot-stomping" good time!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Islanders we'll always be...

Sea Shanty Sing Along at NWMC Cafe by Lois, boatshop volunteer. This video clip is from our January 5 inaugural sea shanty sing-along, featuring the Shifty Sailors from Whidbey Island singing their final song of the evening. 

Friday, January 6, 2012

Round and Round, what a great night of singin'!

Photos of our January 5th Sea Shanty Song Circle and Sing-Along courtesy of John Earl, photographer.

Matthew Moeller, Tugboat Bromberg, and the Shifty Sailors

Matthew Moeller , Judith-Kate Friedman, Tugboat Bromberg and the Shifty Sailors

The Northwest Maritime Center Cafe and Chandlery was packed, with nearly 90 members of the local community as well as shantymen and women from around the Pacific Northwest during out for our inaugural shanty sing on the first Thursday in January. "Spectacular evening," commented local musician and our January 5 song circle leader Mike James.

The rafters resounded!

Anchors were firmly aweigh at the inaugural gathering of the Port Townsend Sea Shanty Song Circle, when an estimated 90 shanty loving folk filled the Northwest Maritime Center CafĂ© to bursting. For two rousing hours the rafters resounded with the echo of sea songs past and present as the community shared their passion for maritime music.

The event was attended by many well-known local and regional singers including Matthew Moeller of the Whateverly Brothers, The Shifty Sailors from Whidbey Island, Tugboat Bromberg and Hank Cramer. The evening also brought to light many fantastic voices from the local community as the song circle format ensured that nearly everyone had the opportunity to sing, request a song or pass along to the next in the circle before Mark Iler brought the session to an end with a delightfully moving melody.

The success of the evening was made clear not just by the sheer number that attended, but also by the camaraderie felt within the room, the old bonds renewed and new friendships that were made. I am fairly sure that the majority of folk arrived with songs they knew and left with at least one they hadn’t heard before. 

Of course, none of this would have come to pass without the stalwart organization and time put in by Lee Erickson and the fearless Mike James who did a fantastic job of keeping the circle on track.  I’m sure I speak for everyone when I offer our heartiest thank you to them for making the evening, and every one hereafter, possible. 

by Helen Gilbert

If you were at the Sea Shanty Song Circle and Sing-Along on January 5, you will remember Helen and her rich voice, as she led the song General Taylor and sang a duet with a member of the Shifty Sailors. Thank you to Helen for her wonderful support and help spreading the word.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Port Townsend to Revive Songs of Yore

Local musician Mike James (photo) and Lee Erickson, organizers of the Port Townsend Sea Shanty Song Circle and Sing-Along, were recently interviewed by Peninsula Daily News Jefferson County reporter, Charlie Bermant.

The January 4 front-page story reads: "Port Townsend to revive sea songs of yore - Series of shanties begins Thursday at maritime center."

Bermant's interview quotes James as saying: 

"Shanties speak to the life before the internal combustion engine.... It comes from a time when people did work by hand doing whatever required muscles and power, and the songs gave them a sense of unity.... Workers on a ship would sing the songs as a way to stay focused on the task, and to build a sense of camaraderie among sailors. You would sing the song until the task was done.... If you finished the task with three verses to go, you wouldn't sing those verses.... The shanties also were a way for workers to speak out against abusive bosses. Sometimes you could sing what you really felt about your boss. You were doing the work while you were singing so they couldn't really object as long as your weren't too insulting.... Many of the songs are call-and-response and are easily learned."

Erickson comments: "People who can't sing can always bellow out a shanty.... People who don't have good voices and never sing will still have a good time when they join in."

To read the full article, click here.