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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
Shantymanuk What is a Shanty (95* d) RE: What is a Shanty 01 Apr 02

The French colonised the west coast of Africa, along with the empires of Spain and Portugal. England also had its part to play. All four languages have their roots principally in Latin.

To chant is to sing.

Galleys were "stroked" in pre-christian times to the beat of a "drum".

The way to achieve physical effectiveness is to co-ordinate effort. If you "pull together", you survive longer, that is, you get to live a bit longer, thanks to a common purpose, however transitory. If you want to do things, do them together. Not only is it easier physically, it bonds humanity.

It is not really that hard to see where common chants come from. The constant inventiveness of man fighting hard just to survive, to do a necessary job, or to raise his spirits by companionship should not really be a mystery to any of us, if we choose to think about it. The "Nobility of Labour" of the jolly jack tar has no more of the ring of truth about it than that of the eight year old boy sent to clean chimneys, or to wriggle beneath the cotton looms to clear jams while the machines were still running.

We may wonder about what the purpose was of particular shanties, in terms of the task to be performed, but I feel that I will always have respect for the men who performed those tasks, many of them against their will, just for the money for their families to survive.



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