Sailor Song: The Shanties and Ballads of the High Seas by Gerry Smyth
From the earliest of voyages seafarers have sung, be they homeward bound or rolling in a merciless sea to an unknown horizon. The shouts and cries of these sailors' shanties provided a musical rhythm to their work and such 'concerted' efforts improved efficiency as anchors were raised, sails hoisted, and bilge water pumped. Boredom was allayed, concentration increased, and the stamina-sapping agonies were borne on a melody.
In Sailor Song acclaimed writer, playwright and musician Gerry Smyth presents the words and music of some 40 'heaving or hauling' working shanties and 10 off-duty sea songs and ballads. The meanings and history of each song is revealed alongside thematic sections exploring celebrated shantymen, song types and traditions as well as the influence these songs have had on the folk music movement, rock music and the modern shanty revival.
- 160 pages
Gerry Smyth is an academic, musician, actor and playwright and Professor of Irish Cultural History at Liverpool John Moores University. In his writing, Gerry has specialised in the development of both Irish fiction and folk and popular music. Performing under the name Gerry McGowan, Gerry has released three albums of Liverpool-related shanties entitled 'Roll & Go: Songs of Liverpool and the Sea' (2009), 'Across the Western Ocean' (2011) and 'Sailor Song' (2017).
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