Whereas 2021 has already served up loads of wretched bombshells, the very best shock of the previous two weeks could be TikTok’s greatest new pattern: sea shanties. Because the world hurtles head-first into 2021, sea shanties are turning right into a secure harbor for social media customers seeking to take their thoughts off the occasions of the day with some (very) old-timey leisure.
It began when Scottish musician Nathan Evans recorded a video performing a remarkably catchy rendition of “Wellerman,” a 19th century shanty of New Zealand origin. It blew up on-line, garnering over 4 million views on TikTok alone. From there, it wasn’t lengthy earlier than different customers had been piggybacking on the pattern by duetting the whaling tune alongside Evans or debuting sea shanty performances of their very own. Thus, #ShantyTok was born.
Even supposing the latest resurgence of sea shanties is owed totally to the web, their trendy attraction definitely harkens again to their authentic function: synchronizing particular person efforts to attain a standard objective.
In centuries previous, the aim of those call-and-response work songs was, after all, to keep up a ship crew’s deal with safely navigating usually harmful waters. Whether or not the duty was rowing, hoisting sails or hauling nets, the hand-over-hand beat of sea shanties was meant to assist sailors preserve time with one another.
However amid a world pandemic that has stored many individuals at residence and remoted for practically a yr, sea shanties may also help foster a way of group throughout a time when many are feeling lonely. As expertly famous by Vulture‘s Kathryn VanArendonk, at their coronary heart, sea shanties are “unifying, survivalist songs, designed to rework an enormous group of individuals into one collective physique, all working collectively to maintain the ship afloat.”
They’re additionally simple earworms.
Because of TikTok’s duet function, which permits customers to construct on fellow TikTokers’ movies with their very own additions, Evans’ solo rendition of “Wellerman” has been remodeled into a fancy split-screen concord, full with a number of vocal components and instrumental accompaniment. It’s a gaggle venture that everybody within the video labored on individually, which makes its success all of the extra spectacular.
Affirming that the standard shanty format possesses a timeless high quality, some individuals have even begun turning standard songs of at this time, like Smash Mouth’s “All Star” and Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion’s “WAP,” into sea shanties in their very own proper.
A video of 1 reluctant sea shanty fan discovering the attract of those nautical ditties has additionally gone viral. All it took was a automobile trip and an inspirational brother.
The 45-second clip completely showcases how shanty sing-alongs have a method of drawing others in to the fold, or, as one commenter places it, “I assume it is sensible while you assume [about how] the artform originated as a method to supply pleasure, connection and leisure in periods of sustained social isolation.”
So if you happen to’re in want of a distraction amid every thing occurring proper now, #ShantyTok is right here for you. Preserve calm and shanty on.