Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Girls of Valparaiso: An irish sea ballad

Some years ago, on the 150th anniversary of the Great Irish Famine, a recording with irish sea ballads was released and dedicated to those who braved the Atlantic crossing from Ireland to America. God bless them all! In the “Golden Age of Sail,” many Western Ocean seamen were Irish. Some from Derry, Kerry, Cork and Cavan, some Liverpool born and bred, others Irish-Americans from Boston, Philadelphia and New York. These are their songs, together with those of their emigrant passengers - ballads, shanties and songs of shipwreck, hardship, frolic, parting and high adventure... sung and played here by an all-star crew.
One of these recorded tracks reminds us about how happy the sailors were when they arrived to Valpo to visit ..... The Girls of Valparaiso.
This forebitter appeared in Songs of the People. Sam Henry’s source for “The Girls of Valparaiso” was an “old salt” who, once he had given up the sea, had to get his wife to throw buckets of water against the window to induce sleep.
This is not the only one sea shanty dedicated to Valpo's girls.... There are a few others like the ballad known as The Girls around Cape Horn (Calle Esmeralda in the old times).