Henry Scott Tuke Sailors Yarning, The Midday Rest

Seminar Series: Sea Shanties with Craig Edwards – 17 April 2021

Registration/Zoom Invite >>

Register Here for the 17 April 2021 Seminar Series Live Zoom Event
Lecture & Performance at 11:00 AM ET, Q&A to Follow

Pre-registration is required and greatly appreciated. Seminars are free to attend.


Back in January this year, you may have read NMHS senior staff writer Shelley Reid’s Sea History Today post on the recent phenomenon of sea shanties taking the internet by storm.  At the time of writing, “Soon May the Wellerman Come,” performed by the folk group The Longest Johns, was at the top of the music service Spotify’s viral hit songs. How is it that the “rock and roll of 1752″—as it was called in the movie Fisherman’s Friends—is so popular right now?  In this time of social distancing, perhaps we are looking for a sense of community, and traditional tunes, particularly the call-and-response variety, are repetitive and designed to be sung along by even the least musical among us. No matter what the reason for the sudden resurgence, we can all enjoy the abundance of maritime music, and even sing along for a verse or two!

Join us on Saturday, 17 April 2021 for this special seminar, held jointly with the Hendrick Hudson Free Library, as ethnomusicologist and professional shantyman Craig Edwards reveals the history and uses of maritime work songs based on the most recent scholarship, and performs instrumental music and songs of merchant and naval sailors, whalers, and fishermen—music that tells the fascinating stories about their work and lives.  For a preview of one of Craig’s performances, see his rendition of “Way Stormalong John.

About Craig Edwards

Craig Edwards (left) at Mystic Seaport Museum, with Geoff Kaufman.

Craig Edwards is a Wesleyan University-trained ethnomusicologist, singer, multi-instrumentalist, and musical historian who began working as a staff musician at Mystic Seaport Museum in 1984. He has thirty-five years of experience demonstrating the use of song in coordinating shipboard tasks and has served as Director of Mystic Seaport Museum’s Sea Music Festival and moderator of the Annual Symposium of Music and the Sea.