Singing this Stuff

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Enough people have asked me how I've learned all these songs and how they can get into singing folk songs and sea chanteys.  I keep wishing for a page online to explain it better than my writing down some titles and resources on bar napkins or limiting my answers to the time between songs.

So, how did I learn all this stuff, and how can you?

Song Swap at NEFFA 2012 (photo by D. Kessler)
Song Swap at the New England Folk Festival

SHORT ANSWER:  I learned it by doing it - listening to people sing and joining in when I felt comfortable...  for many years.

MORE HELPFUL ANSWER:  Go to a sing and learn the choruses to a couple common songs.  Then learn two songs all the way through so you can sing them confidently when there's no one else around. (Two songs, so you have a spare in case someone else sings "your" song before you get a chance to.)  Keep going to sings, join in as much as you're comfortable, build on what you know, and maybe lead one of the songs you prepared.  Jot down the songs that you particularly enjoyed (the title, or some of their lyrics) so you can look them up online or ask their singer what that song was and where they got it.

There.  Now go find a sing.

Find a Sing   |   Some Good Singers   |   Look Up Songs   |   Some Songs   |   More info

Finding A Sing

Seattle Region
The Seattle Pub Sing usually happens on third Thursdays at T.S. McHugh's pub (Queen Anne, near Seattle Center)
Northwest Seaport hosts a monthly chantey sing, usually on second Fridays
There's a shanty sing in Port Townsend, WA on the second Wednesday of each month
The Seatle Folklore Society has a Song Circle most Sundays

In the Northeast
Greater Boston Traditional Song is a facebook group listing Boston area singing events
Northeast Chanteysings keeps a calendar of maritime music events in the northeast  (note, this is a yahoo group and you'll need to join to get access to the calendar. You can set it to receive no notifications or receive them only 1/week)
N.E.F.F.A. has it's music festival each April, and other programs throughout the year
Brattleboro, Vermont has a monthly Pub Sing

Other areas of the US
San Fransisco has a monthly chantey sing at Hyde Street Pier
Minneapolis has at least one monthly pub sing at the Merlins Rest Pub
Chicago has a monthly chantey sing and an annual maritime festival
Connecticut's Mystic Seaport has a Sea Music Festival every June and a big chantey sing every January
Washington D.C. has a monthly Shanty Sing at the Laughing Man Tavern
New York has a monthly chantey sing at Snug Harbor
Can't find a sing near you? Send me an email and maybe one of my singing friends will know of one

Some Good Singers of Chantey/Maritime Music

Chantey Sing at the USS Constitution Museum (photo by D. Kessler)
Chantey Sing at the USS Constitution Museum, MA

Some Good Places to Look Up Songs

Some Common Songs
Folk music in general does not have songs that are common everywhere, but sea chanteys do!

Some Common Sea Chanteys

Northwest Seaport Chantey Sing aboard the Virginia V (photo by D. Kessler)
Chantey Sing on board the Virginia V, Seattle

Some Less Common Chanteys That I Wish Were More Commonly Known

More Information:

Sing in Mystic, CT (photo by D. Kessler)
Sing in Mystic, CT

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