SEA shanties have gone viral due to TikTok.
But what exactly are they?
What are sea shanties?
Sea shanties are collective folk songs that go back 600 years.
According to Historic UK they originate from the days of the old merchant “tall” sailing ships.
They were traditionally performed by merchant sailors, fishermen or whalers while working on board a ship.
They often used improvisation and a “call and response” with a soloist singing and the rest of the crew responding.
The Guardian says that the word shanty is derived from the French verb “chanter”, meaning to sing.
What Shall We Do with The Drunken Sailor? is one of the more widely recognised sea shanties, which has become popular among non-sailors.
Fisherman’s Friends – who had a film made about them in 2019 – are a Cornish singing group famous for performing sea shanties.
Why have they gone viral?
Thanks to TikTok, sea shanties are now doing the rounds on the platform.
#seashanty has over 69 million views on the app.
The trend started with a user who uploaded a sea shanty, then another user added a bass to the same shanty, and soon both videos went viral.
Sea shanties are simple folksongs that brought crew workers together, so it makes sense that amid a global pandemic with lots of uncertainty people are enjoying these rallying songs as light relief.
Who is Nathan Evans?
Nathan Evans, 26, is a Scottish singer on TikTok.
In December 2020 he uploaded a video of himself singing to TikTok.
The song was called The Scotsman, then he posted another called The Wellerman which is a 19th century New Zealand sea shanty.
It’s about a whaling crew waiting for “sugar and tea and rum” to arrive from Australia.
His rendition of The Wellerman has received millions of views and many other users on the app have uploaded their version of the sea shanty.
The next day a different user called Luke the Voice added a bass harmony to Nathan’s video, which added to online frenzy.
He captioned it with: “I know no-one cares but I love this song way too much to not add a bassline.”
Nathan told cnet: “It went wild. I don’t really know what happened,” speaking of his
He added: “For me, it’s quite therapeutic because it’s just vocals and a bass drum, and people harmonizing.
“It’s quite a lot of people together.”