The Unwound Third > Other Musical Interests

Sea-Chanties meet Social Media


I was thinking about sharing something here about the recent viral sea-chantey singing that has occurred on TikTok and, lo and behold, today Amanda Petrusich has written about the phenomenon in the New Yorker, saving me from having to do the work to research the who, what, where, why and how. It's comforting that, even with the technological distractions of our day, folk culture can still push it's way to the fore from time to time.

Here's a compilation of some of the Tik-Tok videos Amanda references in her story:

I’m so glad you posted this, I wasn’t aware of this at all. I haven’t read the article yet (I recently read her book on collectors of 78s), but while watching the video I thought of a couple of sea chantey albums I have - the song that came to my mind was “Leave Her Johnny,” done by Paul Clayton, Dave Van Ronk and some other Greenwich Village compatriots. Lo and behold, the first video that came up on YouTube after watching your linked video was 509 people singing that song! So here it is, along with the version with Van Ronk singing lead. Thanks again!


Yes I love sea shanties, and am working on a couple of my faves on clawhammer banjo. I realize unaccompanied can be more realistic and powerful but hey I'm a string player.

This isn't a sea shanty but it is a mostly, apart from really nice percussion, unaccompanied old song, performed out in a real blizzard by real people somewhere close to the briny ocean. I think you'll enjoy it:


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