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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Chantey Singing at the Rowayton Arts Center

For the last two months, I've been taking part in a chantey sing held at the Rowayton Arts Center from 4:00-6:00pm on the third Sunday of the month, and have been enjoying it immensely.  The program is hosted by Deirdre Murtha, of The Johnson Girls, and her husband Sean, who also sings and plays banjo, fiddle and bones.


Each afternoon, different people take turns leading chanteys and other maritime-related songs.  The guy on the left, whose name I should remember, but don't, sings a lot of Scottish and Irish songs.  [Editor's Note 4/14/12: His name is Cliff Abrans and he's a heck of a great guy.  Also, for the record, I figured that out right after I made the original post, but only just got around to making this note.  Oops.]  Other folks are more general-purpose chantey singers, while others just come and sing along -- or even just listen.

When I went last month, it was a spur-of-the-moment decision and I didn't have anything prepared, but ended up leading Adieu, Sweet Lovely Nancy, The Mary Ellen Carter, and Fair Maid Walking.  This last time, since I had a chance to plan, I took along my guitar and banjo and led The Loss of the Bay Rupert, Battleship of Maine [Here's a video of me playing it in Havana.], Christmas in the Trenches, and The Storms are on the Ocean.

The Chantey Blast at Mystic Seaport is January 7 and I'm looking forward to going up for that.  I feel like I need to have a policy of not repeating songs at the Rowayton Chantey Sing, so I'll be on the lookout for catchy tunes with interesting lyrics.