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OPLIN 4Cast #735: TikTok, the Wellerman has finally come

Posted in 4cast, and TikTok

Earlier last week, I was shocked to hear my teenaged son loudly singing, from his room:

Soon may the Wellerman come
To bring us sugar and tea and rum
One day, when the tonguin’ is done
We’ll take our leave and go

Now, I’m a longtime fan of folk and Celtic music. Not only did I recognize the song (“Wellerman“), but it should be noted that my son, although musically inclined (and plays an Irish drum), simply doesn’t sing. When I asked him where he’d heard the song, he replied that it was all over TikTok and that sea shanties were “now a thing.” Indeed, as my own investigation of #seashanties on TikTok showed, he was right.

  • The Scottish postman behind ‘Sea Shanty TikTok [BBC] “On TikTok, videos tagged #seashanty have had more than 70 million views. Google Trends even tweeted on Tuesday that “sea shanties” was being searched for more than it ever had in search engine’s history.”
  • The history of sea shanties – and why they’re such a hit in 2021 [Independent] “It’s not surprising, then, that shanties have struck such a chord at a time when we’re all stuck at home. They provide a communal feel, even when we feel far apart from our friends and loved ones. And that driving rhythm provides an energy and optimism that might just be strong enough to keep us cheerful through lockdown. “
  • How singing sea shanties can help you weather the pandemic [CBC] “Shanties have been around since at least the 1600s. They originally helped sailors work in unison, McCann says, and their popularity soared during times of hardship. That, he says, makes them perfect for getting through quarantine, isolation and a pandemic.”
  • Sea shanties have taken over TikTok. Here’s why [CNET] “It turns out lamenting being stuck on a whaling ship while running out of rum is the favored mood for the first week of 2021.”

From the Ohio Web Library: