Sea Shanties: Where They Came...

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Sea Shanties: Where They Came From And Why Are They So Catchy?

Newsroom
Newsroom

05:37 18 Jan 2021


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Tik Tok has been credited with popularising whipped coffee, the renegade and now sea shanties.

So far, videos with the hashtag #SeaShanties have more than 1 billion views.

Shanty fever has spread faster than scurvy on a pirate's ship.

In fact, Google Trends tweeted that sea shanties were searched more last week than any other time in the platform's history.

Musicologist Gavin Ring has explained the addictive music's origin.

He says sailors used Sea Shanties to keep time with the rest of the crew over 200 years ago.

"They first made their appearance in the eighteenth centaury on French vessels."

He says by the following century, shanties became synonymous with rhymical labour on ships.

Celebrities And Tik Tokers Put Their Own Twist On Sea Shanties

The songs themselves have only just four to five notes, making them easier for sailors - and Tik Tokers - to chime in on.

Users have been putting their own spin on the simple rhymes, including this 2020 version.

Even Olivia Rodrigo's smash hit song "Drivers License" has gotten the shanty treatment by talk show host Jimmy Kimmel.

Gavan Ring says they fell out of favour then when machine driven vessels took over in the shipping industry, as there were fewer jobs to carry out on deck.

But then along came Tik Tok.

The musicologist said he "never thought in a million years" he'd be discussing sea shanties in 2021.

"It's incredible and some of them are fantastic!"

"The arrangement and the harmonic constructions of it are really lovely - so why not?!"


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