Sea Shanties Are Taking Over TikTok

Old style of Singing Together Takes on New Life Thanks to Technology

Sea Shanties have been around as long as sailing ships. They were used to help seafarers get communal tasks done like, hoisting sails. The beat of the song would keep everyone moving together. Song slowly spread around the world as sailors moved from boat to boat. There are sea shanties in many languages.

Now, even as we are increasingly isolated as the global pandemic continues, technology has breathed new life into the sea shanty. TikTok’s Duet feature allows users to song along with each other. One user posts a video and anyone can record themselves singing along.

Sea Shanty Tik Toks are then being shared over other social media, like Twitter and YouTube.

One of the songs to gain traction off TikTok was written by Newfoundland singer/songwriter Alan Doyle, best known as part of Great Big Sea.

Doyle retweeted this Sea Shanty TikTok saying “What a time to be alive. I wrote the chorus of this song in the back of a van on the Robin Hood set. As shanties should, all hands are sharing it and adding to it all over place. Loves it. Row Me Bully Boys Row.”



Alan Doyle joined Sam for the duet to say “Thank You” for singing his song.

@alanthomasdoyle#duet with @sampopemusic

♬ original sound – Sam Pope

Check out this great remix of a New Zealand Sea Shanty  from the 1830s, “The Wellerman”, which is a song about the Wellerman company coming to resupply a whaling ship. Nathan Evans seems to have started the Sea Shanty trend on TikTok with this song!