Friday, June 16, 2006

Shanties et Valpo

A couple of decades ago I was surprised to discover in a folk festival in the States, english folk songs that told stories happening in my hometown, Valparaiso, Chile. These were Shanties, sea songs, mostly in English, and also French and German that recalls the time when working sailing ships made long roundtrips whose main south Pacific "entrepot" and stopover was the city port of Valparaiso. So earlier on, many oral lyrics developed through the XIX century leaving more than a few reminders dedicated to this sailortown.
Some years ago, I collected what shanties I got at the time and wrote some articles for local newspapers and reviews.... e.g.

In the process, we started our first festival and, our first european invited guest artist was a singer shantyman, Joe Stead, who gave us some of the first real hand outs and musical ideas about this forgotten tradition in Chile, especially from somebody who knew well the last real working shantyman, Stan Hugill. His CD Valparaiso Round the Horn, is a clear example and his lectures on the long saling trip to Chile were really a big plus for all of us neophites, living at the same seaport that gathered so many shantymen during the golden sailing years...

Well, now the celtic band La Montaña gris, from Medellin, Colombia has adapted some of these shanties to their own style, and now they are about to record one that I recollected for them a few years ago to be sung in Valparaiso. A french farewell sea song called Adieu Valparaiso, with the music of Auld Lang Syne. Now, this band is coming back to Valpo for our Festival next October hopefully with their new CD...... more news later on....
Si vous voulez de pratiquer chansons de mer en francais..... le proche url peut etre une example: