Apr 14, 2010

Shantie Songs

This week my family and I went to Trinity Baptist Church to see the Okanagan Symphony Orchestra and Glenmore Elementary School perform "How Canada Came to Be: A Story of You and Me"

It was wonderful. I love live music, especially the orchestra type. Those musicians amaze me with their dedication to their craft. I also received a history lesson by song and story. The kids at
Glenmore Elementary School did any amazing job. It was obvious they spent many hours learning and preparing. There was some tremendously gifted kids there.

At one point in the presentation, the kids told stories and showed pictures about how the railroad finally came to BC and how it opened up the ability to send lumber to other provinces. So, loggers would go deep into the woods and sing "shanties" to help bring light hearted joy to their day.

Shanties are the work songs that were used on the square-rigged ships of the Age of Sail. Their rhythms coordinated the efforts of many sailors hauling on lines. Much loved by modern sailors and folk musicians, they are rarely used as work songs today. This is because modern rigging doesn't require many people to be working in the same rhythm for long periods. Loggers sang shantie songs as well as they were deep in the woods of BC.

Monday night I realized, singing while working has been in our DNA since Canada started. 

When I heard this, my heart immediately said, "Yes, Shantie songs!"

There were no radios and ipods and itunes back in the 1800's. All they had was each other and their imagination. Music is a gift in so many ways. It can keep you focused,  remind you of a truth, keep you cheerful and even bring a smile.
One of my "quirks" is that I sing.... all day long. I try to keep it quiet and in my head... but often it bursts out into the atmosphere. Luckily I have very patient co workers who tolerate my continuos singing and humming. I often say: "I just can't help myself!"

Often, I will sing one line, over and over and over as if my subconscious is trying to get me to learn something. Of late, its been only a few lines:

"I've got a feelin, today's gonna be a good day.
Today's gonna be a good day, today's gonna be a good good day."

I even have it as my alarm ring, and I'll tell you what, I awake happy and humming this to myself and my family as I prepare for another day.

"whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think (sing, hum) about such things."

What "shantie song" are you singing of late? How has it helped you?


Tamatha said...


This is the song that I have been playing over and over lately:o)

Holly said...

*sigh* I am so glad you posted a new post on your Blog!!