South Street Seaport Museum’s monthly sea-music series Sea Chanteys and Maritime Music––the original NYC Chantey Sing––continues on Sunday, June 4, 2023, at 2pm, on the 1885 tall ship Wavertree, NYC. The June event will be hosted by Lafayette Matthews, a queer folk musician with a specialty in the history of queerness in traditional sailing as reflected in historical songs. Singers of all levels, as well as listeners, are welcome to attend and can lead or request a maritime work song or ballad. The program will offer a round-robin where anyone can sing and share a chantey of their choice that will be heard by all, join in the choruses throughout the event, or just listen. Registration is encouraged for this free event. seaportmuseum.org/chanteysing.
Before and after the Chantey Sing, participants are invited to take advantage of Pay What You Wish General Admission to the Seaport Museum. General Admission includes access to three gallery exhibitions at 12 Fulton Street as well as a walk through Wavertree at whatever price is right for you––the full ticket price, free in-person admission, or any amount in between.
Old-time sailors on long voyages spent months living together in close quarters with no outside entertainment, no new people to interact with, a monotonous diet, and each day pretty much just like the day before. How did they keep their spirits up? Singing together! Work songs and fun songs, story songs, and nonsense songs, songs of nostalgia and songs of up-to-the-moment news—all were part of the repertoire onboard.
“Sea chanteys fit in beautifully with the New York tradition,” said Laura Norwitz. “Sailing ships were a melting pot of languages and cultures, and chanteys and forecastle songs, along with hard work and shared challenges, helped sailors merge into one community. When we sing these songs today—some old, and some with updated lyrics for the 21st century—we celebrate New York’s maritime history and also the community we create by enjoying home-made music together.”
Be sure to review the latest COVID-19 protocols before attending.
About the South Street Seaport Museum
The South Street Seaport Museum, located in the heart of the historic seaport district in New York City, preserves and interprets the history of New York as a great port city. Founded in 1967, the Museum houses an extensive collection of works of art and artifacts, a maritime reference library, exhibition galleries and education spaces, working 19th century print shops, and an active fleet of historic vessels that all work to tell the story of “Where New York Begins.” seaportmuseum.org
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