Sea shanty: Why are the songs so standard on TikTok proper now?

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You may not have heard the phrase “Sea Shanty”, but you probably sang one at school or even saw people sing it on social media.

They have become a huge hit on TikTok, and a lot of people post videos that feature them.

So what are they

Read on to find out more or try our quiz to test your knowledge of the songs and their history.

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What is a sailor’s song?

Sea shanties are ancient songs that were traditionally sung by sailors, fishermen or whalers at sea.

They should be sung together while the ships are being worked on – the song would help keep everyone in the loop, for example while sailing or pulling ropes.

They use call and answer, with one leader starting the song and then everyone else singing the chorus.

It was often hard work on the big sailing ships, so music was also a way to lift the mood.

A famous seaman’s song you might have sung in school is called Drunken Sailor.

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Why are they so popular now?

Whaling boatGetty Images

Seaman’s songs were sung by merchant seamen to help them stay on time with duties on board the ships

Sea Shanties have made waves on TikTok and have become hugely popular.

Many people think it’s because of a Scottish postman named Nathan Evans who first posted a video in July 2020 of him singing an ancient sailor’s song.

The video reached 1.1 million views. Since then, Nathan has made a lot more videos, with some of his most popular videos reaching over 6 million views.

Anyone can join in, you don’t necessarily have to be able to sing, the words are simple and it’s just the beat and the voices. I think it’s a bit of everything that appeals to everyone.

Nathan Evans, TikToker and Sea Shanty Singers!

TikToker are now working on the songs together and doing their own duets.

Google Trends even tweeted that “Sea Shanties” are now being searched more than ever before in search engine history!

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