That Sea Shanty Craze

That Sea Shanty Craze: if you were recently on the internet, you might have seen a wildly popular TikTok trend involving sea shanties. Via ABC:

In the final days of 2020, Scottish singer Nathan Evans posted a TikTok of himself singing the sea shanty Wellerman. It’s a New Zealand folksong from the mid-19th century, about a Sydney whaling company called The Weller Bros, whose employees and ships were called ‘Wellermen’.

The song features a supply ship bringing “sugar and tea and rum” to a whaling crew off the shore of New Zealand. Nathan’s video is simple — black and white, with Nathan dressed in a hoodie and beanie as he taps out a beat on the back of his guitar and uses his own voice to add layers and harmonies to the chorus.

There’s something soothing in the repetitive rhythm, and Nathan’s sincere delivery. His Scottish lilt and rich voice feel made for the sea shanty. In itself it’s fantastic, but what happened next turned the video from a quirky one-off into a viral phenomenon that united and delighted people all around the globe.

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