Course overview

Ahoy landlubbers! The WEA, in partnership with Thames Sailing Barge Trust are pleased to present a one of session on Shanties and Sea songs, a talk and performance by the Mains’l Haul shanty crew from Maldon in Essex. Join us on this fascinating look back at songs and shanties used by fisherman, sailors and sea faring folk as the group talk about the history of Shanties and songs of the sea, as well as performing for us as well. You are encouraged to join in!

Course description

The WEA have been working in partnership with Thames Sailing Barge Trust for the last 3 years, delivering various courses in Maldon. We are delighted to be offering this session with guest tutor Ray Clark and the Mains’L Haul Shanty Crew; who perform Shanties & songs of the sea, primarily from the time of ships under sail, but also include some more modern material.

During this session, we will look at the history of these songs & what they were used for, covering the origins of the songs used at sea & the work or leisure activity attached to those songs. We will also look at why the songs came about & why & how they developed to suit specific jobs on board ship.

It should be noted that these songs were written in earlier times when the way of life was very different.

They were also written in an all-male environment where much of the language was colourful to say the least.

Most of the songs have now been sanitised but there may be some offensive language included for demonstration of the period.

There will be singing for much of this talk & we would very much welcome audience participation and questions!

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