'Endrick', painted by E.J. Russell  a 19th century artist based in Saint John and famous for his ship paintings

What about a song there ?
 
“On sailing day the capstan would be the first object the half-soused fo’c’sle crowd would come in contact with, either to heave the anchor or warp the vessel out through the locks. Once the cry was raised ‘Man the caps’n!’, the crowds would lumber up, take the bars from the rack, ship them in pigeon holes in the head of the capstan, and start heaving. From the mate would come the questioning shout, “What about a song there?” or “ Who’s the bloody nightingale aboard this packet?” And there and then the self-appointed shantyman would roar forth the opening solo of his shanty. From then on he would keep his job until the final tying up of the packet at the end of the voyage.”
- Stan Hugill, "Shanties from the Seven Seas"
 

Before the Mast sings the songs of the tall ship sailors with authentic gusto and energy, and always with appropriately timed 'hitches' and 'yelps', as well as our own unique harmonies thrown in for good measure. The group works hard to involve the audience and make connections with them.

Before the Mast is versatile, ready and willing to sing wherever and whenever there are those who want to hear the amazing variety of work songs that once inspired sailors to pull in time and pull with a will; spirited songs that were worth “ten men on a rope”.

Before the Mast sings on stages, both inside and out, and can do short sets or full hour and a half concerts. We can sing for small groups in country inns, houses or pubs as well as for larger audiences in schools, churches and theatres. We can sing for community sponsored events and for well-established festivals. We often collaborate with other musicians and groups but we can easily command a stage on our own. We have our own sound system with wireless mikes but often our unique 'a cappella' sound does not need amplification.

 

Shanties were shipboard work songs with calls and responses between a shantyman and his fellow sailors sung to create and maintain a rhythm so that many hands could work together on board ship, whether it was heaving on a capstan bar, hauling on a halyard, furling a sail or manning a pump. In the afterhours, when work was done, sailors would often sing songs for entertainment and solace.

Before the Mast has an extensive repertoire of sea shanties, forebitters and songs of the sea such as this one :


 

Capstan Bar ( Heave, My Boys, Away )

 
Walk her round for we're rolling homeward
Heave, me boys, together
The old bully ship is a-lying wind'ard
Heave, me boys, away
She's taut and trim and the wind's a-blowin'
Snug up aloft and the ship's a-goin'
Heave her, or we'll strand her
For the old ship's rolling home.
 
Sing and heave and heave and sing, boys
Heave, me boys, together
Heave and make that capstan spring, boys
Heave, me boys, away
It's blow, ye winds, for London town-o
Where them gals are dressed so fine-o
Heave her, or we'll strand her
For the old ship's rolling home.
 
Sails trimmed taught and the ship's a-goin'
Heave, me boys, together
Move her round for the wind's a-blowin'
Heave, me boys, away
It's goodbye gals, we're bound to leave you
Good-bye Sally and good-bye Lulu
Heave her, or we'll strand her
For the old ship's rolling home.
 
Now can't ya hear the wind a howlin'?
Heave, me boys, together
Can't ya hear the bosun growlin'?
Heave, me boys, away
We're homeward bound with the wind a-blowin'
Snug up aloft and the ship's a-rollin'
Heave her, or we'll strand her
For the old ship's rolling home.

Heave her, or we'll strand her
For the old ship's rolling home.
 
 

 

"Like whistling around the decks (the sure incentive to uncommon gales) and spitting in the wind, the elder hands maintained that the rousing of a chanty 'when there weren't no call' could not but offend some presiding diety. But there were fo'c's'le ditties that could be sung in lieu and they had, in words and tune, a close resemblance to the proper chanty."
- David Bone, "Capstan Bars", 1931

 

Before the Mast  sings a number of these fo’c’s’le ditties (forebitters). These were songs sung by sailors in their off hours and were often more ballad-like, sad and sentimental. Before the Mast usually includes a variety of French and Acadian sea songs in every performance and often performs songs written by contemporary singers such as Tom Lewis and Archie Fisher, as well as local performers like Jim Stewart, Donat LaCroix and Roland Borgeois.


Modify Website

© 2000 - 2017 powered by
Doteasy Web Hosting