Burl Ives
Parcel of Rogues
Blow Boys Blow
Steeleye Span

Folk » Traditional Folk » Sea Shanties

Sea shanties (or chanteys) are sailors' work songs, which were originally designed to help synchronize tasks aboard ship. An experienced listener can generally tell what job was originally performed to the rhythm of a tune; sail-hauling shanties have a different beat than pumping shanties, rowing shanties, and capstan or windlass shanties. What many shanties have in common is call-and-response vocals and a yelp or shout at the end of each chorus. (The latter was a signal to pull on a rope or put extra effort into raising an anchor.) The subjects of shanties vary widely, from tales of the sea and reminiscences of ladies left behind to nonsensical rhymes and ribald boasting. Though English-language shanties are perhaps best known there are popular shanties in many languages, and the largest regularly held shanty festival is staged annually in Poland. In recent years folk artists have created many original tunes in the style of sea shanties, and many bands have added a few shanties to their repertoire to add color to their set. Note: There is some disagreement about the reason for the name of the style. Some experts refer to the chanted quality of the vocals, while others point to the fact that fishermen traditionally lived in shacks called shantys. Nobody is ever likely to know which is true, or if there is some other reason altogether.

Sea Shanties Artists Highlights

Burl Ives
Burl Ives
Steeleye Span
Steeleye Span
Mike Seeger
Mike Seeger

More Sea Shanties Artists

Sea Shanties Album Highlights

Parcel of Rogues
Steeleye Span
Parcel of Rogues
Blow Boys Blow
A.L. Lloyd / Ewan MacColl
Blow Boys Blow
Chorus from the Gallows
Ewan MacColl
Chorus from the Gallows
Below the Salt
Steeleye Span
Below the Salt
The Ballad of John Axon
Ewan MacColl
The Ballad of John Axon
The Body Blow
Ewan MacColl
The Body Blow

More Sea Shanties Albums

Sea Shanties Song Highlights

Title/Composer Performer Stream
Hares on the Mountain Steeleye Span
Whup! Jamboree
A.L. Lloyd / Ewan MacColl
Gaudete Steeleye Span
Thomas the Rhymer Maddy Prior / Steeleye Span
Black Jack Davy Steeleye Span
The Twelve Witches Steeleye Span
Gentle Annie Gordon Bok / Ann Mayo Muir / Ed Trickett
Swinging on a Star Burl Ives
A Holly Jolly Christmas Burl Ives
Tumbling Tumbleweeds Burl Ives

More Sea Shanties Songs

Other Styles in Traditional Folk