I've got to disagree with the Cranky Yankee, there have been work songs in just about every culture in the world. And as for the Irish only singing as a form of art???? There are plenty of recorded "tweeding" songs from the west coast of scotland that the women sang as they cured the tweed. It took as many women as were available to work the tweed and they had to work in unison, hence the songs. If you look at the Norse, I'm sure you'll be able to find Viking work songs, 'cos that's all a shanty is.
TTFN M'Lady P.