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Indian sea songs & chanteys/shanties

Gibb Sahib 09 Apr 09 - 05:08 PM
Gibb Sahib 09 Apr 09 - 05:20 PM
Azizi 09 Apr 09 - 05:29 PM
JWB 09 Apr 09 - 06:00 PM
Lighter 09 Apr 09 - 06:16 PM
curmudgeon 09 Apr 09 - 06:28 PM
Gibb Sahib 09 Apr 09 - 07:00 PM
Barry Finn 09 Apr 09 - 07:33 PM
Barry Finn 09 Apr 09 - 07:40 PM
Gibb Sahib 09 Apr 09 - 07:44 PM
Gibb Sahib 09 Apr 09 - 07:55 PM
Snuffy 10 Apr 09 - 09:12 AM
Charley Noble 10 Apr 09 - 09:16 AM
Gibb Sahib 10 Apr 09 - 12:21 PM
Azizi 10 Apr 09 - 12:51 PM
Azizi 10 Apr 09 - 12:54 PM
Gibb Sahib 10 Apr 09 - 02:51 PM
Azizi 10 Apr 09 - 03:03 PM
Charley Noble 10 Apr 09 - 04:55 PM
Charley Noble 10 Apr 09 - 05:07 PM
Shalini 11 Apr 09 - 04:54 AM
Gibb Sahib 11 Apr 09 - 12:17 PM
Charley Noble 11 Apr 09 - 12:48 PM
Gibb Sahib 11 Apr 09 - 03:48 PM
Charley Noble 13 Apr 09 - 09:45 AM
Gibb Sahib 13 Apr 09 - 12:15 PM
Snuffy 13 Apr 09 - 12:37 PM
Dave the Gnome 13 Apr 09 - 01:29 PM
Barry Finn 13 Apr 09 - 03:02 PM
Snuffy 13 Apr 09 - 03:52 PM
Gibb Sahib 13 Apr 09 - 04:08 PM
Barry Finn 13 Apr 09 - 06:55 PM
Charley Noble 13 Apr 09 - 09:35 PM
Sailor Ron 14 Apr 09 - 05:33 AM
Gibb Sahib 16 Apr 09 - 05:35 AM
Shalini 19 Apr 09 - 03:05 AM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 19 Apr 09 - 03:35 AM
Shalini 19 Apr 09 - 04:29 AM
Gibb Sahib 24 Apr 09 - 10:22 PM
Charley Noble 25 Apr 09 - 05:53 PM
Gibb Sahib 25 Apr 09 - 08:51 PM
Shalini 25 Apr 09 - 11:03 PM
Gibb Sahib 18 Nov 09 - 07:20 PM
shipcmo 07 May 10 - 06:01 PM
buddhuu 07 May 10 - 08:31 PM
Charley Noble 07 May 10 - 09:13 PM
buddhuu 08 May 10 - 05:41 AM
Shalini 08 May 10 - 08:03 AM
Shalini 08 May 10 - 08:11 AM
buddhuu 08 May 10 - 12:12 PM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 01 May 18 - 11:56 PM
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Subject: Indian sea songs & chanteys/shanties
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 09 Apr 09 - 05:08 PM

I am creating this thread as a place to contribute and log information related to chanteys and sea songs related to things/people originating in the Indian Subcontinent. The simply reason is that I am fascinated by both India and maritime songs (as I hope some others are, too) and I thought it would be useful to collect references in one place. Since the information on this topic is relatively, I think the references can be fairly broad--even just mentions of India in sea songs.

I will start by mentioning a few sources of information and examples, though without yet going into the deep details of each.

--Stan Hugill's SHANTIES FROM THE SEVEN SEAS has two pieces that relate to things Indian. One is the chantey "Eki Dumah." It looks like a chantey of Guyana of Trinidad, with its bits of pidgin Hindi reflecting more the large Indian populations there (i.e. descendants of indentured laborers) rather than reflecting an "Indian chantey" per se. I'll say more about this one in the future.

--Whall (1910) included a "sing out" in Hindustani. (Hugill reprinted it, which is where I am getting it from.) Unfortunately, the lyrics have been mangled in heir transfer to non-Hindi speakers. I took a wild stab at rendering it, and guessing the true lyrics, HERE

--The Permathread on Merchant Navy Songs contains numerous songs of later days that have Indian words and references, being that the crews were often "Lascars" - seamen from points east of the Nile.

--Useful reference works include:

Roebuck's ENGLISH AND HINDUSTANEE NAVAL DICTIONARY (1813) which includes grammar and a glossary of the so-called "Lascari" language, a shipboard, pidgin Hindi.

The "HOBSON JOBSON" glossary (1903), which reflects terms that came out of the English interactions with India and other Asian societies. It's a great general reference for 19th century slang.

Leland's DICTIONARY OF SLANG, JARGON, AND CANT also conatins references, though it is a bit sketchy and speculative.

--Some chanteys that come to mind at this second, that just mention India are

"Ranzo Ray" - "...we're loaded down with curios from China and the Indias"
"Hieland Laddie" - "Was you ever in Bombay? Drinkin' coffee and bo-he"
"Can't You Dance the Polka" - "Shanghaied in San Francisco, we fetched up in Bombay"

--THE CLIPPER SHIP SHEILA by Captain Angel (1921) describes a voyage picking up "coolies" (indentured laborers) in India and transporting them to colonies in the Caribbean. There are a few India-related songs in it, and lots of common chanteys.

--Amitav Ghosh's recent novel SEA OF POPPIES is set in the 1830s, and revolves around an ex-slave ship that is being reused to transport "coolies" from locales along the Ganges to Mauritius. He uses the range of Hindi, Bengali, Bhojpuri, Lascari, Portuguese, Chinese Pidgin, Hobson-Jobson, and other sailors' slang in a Joyce-esque way. One finds in it all the terms for different parts and stations on a vessel, down to details of the shipboard Hindi terms for things like jib-boom, upper tops'l, etc. A great read.

Gibb


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Subject: RE: Indian sea songs & chanteys/shanties
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 09 Apr 09 - 05:20 PM

--L.A. Smith's 1888 text MUSIC OF THE WATERS has some Indian boatmen's songs gathered second-hand.


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Subject: RE: Indian sea songs & chanteys/shanties
From: Azizi
Date: 09 Apr 09 - 05:29 PM

Gibb, I look forward to interesting reading in this thread as well as your other ones on shanties.

Here's a minor correction which I'm sure that other readers caught. But just for the record, would you please confirm that you meant "One is the chantey "Eki Dumah." It looks like a chantey of Guyana or Trinidad".


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Subject: RE: Indian sea songs & chanteys/shanties
From: JWB
Date: 09 Apr 09 - 06:00 PM

Gibb,

Off the top of my head I know that "Bold Reilly" has the line "We're outward bound for the Bengal Bay."

You should think about presenting a paper at the Mystic Sea Music Symposium.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: Indian sea songs & chanteys/shanties
From: Lighter
Date: 09 Apr 09 - 06:16 PM

I believe that A. L. Lloyd is responsible for the "Bengal Bay" reference in "Bold Reilly." He certainly slipped one into "Heave Away, My Johnnies" for singing in "Moby Dick" (1956).


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Subject: RE: Indian sea songs & chanteys/shanties
From: curmudgeon
Date: 09 Apr 09 - 06:28 PM

That same Bengal Bay reference is also on the Washington LP, Whaling Ballads - Tom


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Subject: RE: Indian sea songs & chanteys/shanties
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 09 Apr 09 - 07:00 PM

Azizi--
Yup! That's what I meant. Hugill learned "Eki Dumah" in St. Lucia. It was supposed to be very popular in "West Indian Traders." For various reasons (partly intuitive) I suspect that it is from that ~southern~ Caribbean area. One definite reason why Guyana or Trinidad are most likely is because that is the area that got a lot of Indian immigrants.

Hugill writes: "In this example the words 'Eki dumah!' are probably a corruption of the Hindustani expression 'Ek dom', i.e. one man."

I am quite sure that he is wrong. It must really be (spelled more accurately) "ek-dam" which literally means "one breath" and effectively means "At once" / "all at once" / "All together." This is certainly something that Indians might say in a work song when they have to pull all together. "Ek" rhymes with "break"; "dam" sounds like "dumb". The reason for "ek-i" and "dum-ah" is simply the fact that in Hindi one enunciates consonants to their full value, even at the end of words and especially in songs or other rhythmic speech. In order to enunciate a consonant in full, it is considered that an accompanying short vowel sound need follow it. So the singers of this song or Hugill must have heard the over-enunciated song-pronunciation of the words and assumed them to have phonemic value. Of course, when we read the text now, the mis-spelling prompts us to OVER pronounce thise letters, as long vowels.

Here's the text of the song:

Kay, kay kay kay!
Eki dumah!
Kay, kay kay kay!
Eki dumah!
Somersett a-killa coolie man
Eki dumah!
Somersett a-killa Bosun's mate
Eki dumah!
Somersett a-killa wirefall
Eki dumah!
Somersett a-killa coolie man
Eki dumah!
Kay, kay kay kay!
Eki dumah!
Kay, kay kay kay!
Eki dumah!

Other verses:
Sailorman no likee Bosun's Mate
Bosun's Mate no likee Head Serang
Head Serang no like Number One
Number One no likee coolie man

I don't know what "kay, kay" means -- if it is anything but just nonsense syllables. It really doesn't mean anything productive in Hindi or Punjabi, nor, I would guess Bengali or Bhojpuri. I am vaguely aware that there is a dance-song thingey of Guianan culture called "que-que" --pronounced KWEY KWEY, I think -- but that's just a WAG. I'd vote for nonsense vocable.

The English verses sound to me not so much as a Caribbean creole but more like the ~Chinese~ pidgin that worked as a lingua franca, with of course the Indian sailor terms thrown in ("serang," "coolie").

Interestingly, Stan Hugill popularized this one among Polish chantey singers especially.

*******
Jerry/Lighter

Yes! I remember the "Bengal Bay...to teach the whales to dance" reference in Lloyd's "Heave Away." I've since wondered why one would associate the Bengal Bay with whaling -- surely there are a hundred more places better associated with whaling? (though I may be mistaken!) Nonetheless, it is a personal line, which is cool.


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Subject: RE: Indian sea songs & chanteys/shanties
From: Barry Finn
Date: 09 Apr 09 - 07:33 PM

In Harlow's "Chantying Aboard American Ships" you'll 2 shanties from Java which Harlow referes to being sung by "coolies", "From Surabaya To Pasoeroean" & "Ah-Hoo-E-La-E". ANd a one line Japanesse short drag shanty.
Add to those 4 what he calls "Bardadian Negro Chantey" (for your other thread)
John, John Crow (hand over hand)
Gwine To Git Home Bime By" (hand over hand) has been recorded
Lindy Lowe (hand over hand) has been recorded
The Darky Sunday School (hand over hand)


In Hugill's Songs Of The Sea he has what he a "Pidgin-English forebitter that comes from both Scandinavian & German seamen in the Chuna Coast trade, called "Sampan Girl (p.189)
Another "Pidgin-English" halyard shanty he says was popular with Scandinavian sailors that comes from the China Coast is "Kinakusten"

Then there's "Yangtse River Shanty" that Charlie "Noble" Ipcar resurrected (see thread releating to the song) & put a tune to


Good luck

Barry


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Subject: RE: Indian sea songs & chanteys/shanties
From: Barry Finn
Date: 09 Apr 09 - 07:40 PM

I also remember reading some books by Allen Villiers. Maybe Sons of Sinbad or something about windjammers but he gives accounts (I don't remember if he wrote down any songs) of songs sung in the Arab Dhows to ship board & ship related work while he sailed that part of the world. He was a most fasinating read, I wish I could remember even a fraction of his writtings.

Barry


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Subject: RE: Indian sea songs & chanteys/shanties
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 09 Apr 09 - 07:44 PM

Bloopers in my original post:

-I meant to say that this material is relatively scant.

-By "two pieces" in Hugill I meant "Eki Dumah" and the "Hindustani sing-out" reproduced from Whall's book.
********

Pure fiction, but interesting nonetheless:

In Ghosh's novel, one of the main characters is a mix-race man, Zachary, registered in the ship's log as "Black," but who "passes" for White. At one point, he breaks out his penny-whistle and plays the shanty "Heave Away Cheerily." Hearing this, a Bengali priest, who believes that Zachary is an incarnation of the god Krishna (famous for his flute-playing), becomes convinced! It is quite clever, because "Krishna" means "the dark/black one." That Zachary's true nature is "Black," though he does not openly appear so, makes him more god-like.

Funny how the author chose the shanty as a melody to play on whistle. It does have a good tune, though.


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Subject: RE: Indian sea songs & chanteys/shanties
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 09 Apr 09 - 07:55 PM

Just for reference in the context of all this, the term "coolie" has been used in different ways.

"kulli" is an Indian term for a porter, like especially people who work carrying baggage. There is nothing derogatory about it.

By extension, I'd guess, English speakers started calling other stevedore-types "coolies," like in Harlow's mention of the guys in Java that Barry mentioned.

Then the indentured laborers from Asia --Indians in the Caribbean, Mauritius, Fiji, and Chinese in American (railroad). Not a very nice term.

In the Caribbean present, it means a Creolized Indian - derogatory term.


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Subject: RE: Indian sea songs & chanteys/shanties
From: Snuffy
Date: 10 Apr 09 - 09:12 AM

I believe that A. L. Lloyd is responsible for the "Bengal Bay" reference in "Bold Reilly."

I've never been really comfortable with "Bengal Bay", and usually sing Frisco in place of Bengal. Reassuring to find that my doubts may not have been totally unfounded.


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Subject: LYR Add: Oray Sujon Naiya
From: Charley Noble
Date: 10 Apr 09 - 09:16 AM

Gibb-

This thread is a potential minefield for mistranscribed East Asian shanties, not to mention some attrocious Western ethnocentric ditties which make fun of the indigenous people. That being said, I look forward to what you're able to harvest.

One traditional rowing song that comes to mind, recorded by The Boarding Party on TOO FAR FROM THE SHORE, 2003), is a Bengali one. In Jonathan Eberhart's notes he says they learned it from Hita Brata ("Bachoi") Roy, whose family has performed traditional Indian music in the Washington area for many years under the name "Ganga." It is an example of a bhatiali, a song used only for rowing downstream...Bachoo says the song is more than 200 years old, because some of the words came into the Bengali language from Farsi and Arabicat about that time...Bachoo remembers hearing his grandfather, who died in 1931 at the age of 113, sing the song.

Oray Sujon Naiya

Oray sujon naiya
Oray sujon naiya

Kon ba konnar deshe jaore
Kon ba konnar deshe jaore

Chander deenga baiya

Oray sujon naiya
Oray sujon naiya

Lokhkho tarar noyon kolay
Lokhkho tarar noyon kolay

Oray karchahonir karchahonir manik jawle
Oray karchahonir karchahonir manik jawle

Abchcha megher pawtro khani
Abchcha megher pawtro khani

Le deelo pathaiya

Oray sujon naiya
Oray sujon naiya

The loose translation of this song provided:

Oh, you good boatman

Which girl's home are you heading for?

By paddling the dinghy of the moon

Who is looking through the corner of the eyes of a million stars?

Whose gems sparkle in their looks

Who is sending a letter through the dim clouds?

Who is sending it?

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Indian sea songs & chanteys/shanties
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 10 Apr 09 - 12:21 PM

Hi Charley,

That's very interesting, thanks! Great to have those lyrics. For anyone else interested, I did a quick search and found a sample clip of the Boarding Party's rendition of this Bengali song, HERE (wait a minute, it will start up automatically).

This thread is a potential minefield for mistranscribed East Asian shanties, not to mention some attrocious Western ethnocentric ditties which make fun of the indigenous people.
You are right. But I personally don't mind; all examples are instructive. I'll stand guard, and, if need be, post Azizi as sentry :)

Actually, Charley has inspired me to think harder about what my interest is in this subject. I created the thread without thinking about that too much, just as a place to dump in references when they pop up on the radar. For that reason, open-ended seems most appropriate. On reflecting on what my personal interest probably is though, I realized that I'm focusing on the intersections/interactions between Indian maritime music/lore and the Anglo-phone (?or Global/International?) field of maritime music. I suppose if I were after information and knowledge of specific, authentic Indian traditions then I would first choose a specific area and then delve into the literature and fieldwork on-site.

So I am most curious, this being the forum, about the traditions and references and influences and...that have emerged through the interactions between Indian and non-Indian sailors and through the historical involvement of Indians in the international sea trade and such. Again, not to limit any discussions whatsoever! Keep going...!

Gibb Sahib, Ek Number Burra Malum


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Subject: RE: Indian sea songs & chanteys/shanties
From: Azizi
Date: 10 Apr 09 - 12:51 PM

GiBb, I am sure that you meant your comment about me to be taken lightly. But I would like to state for the record that I read threads on Mudcat to learn things and not to be on the lookout for examples of White ethnocentrism.

I posted that correction in this thread for the record and I included information about the contemporary spelling of the word "Negro" in your thread on Caribbean shanties because I was trying to be helpful.

As you may appreciate, sometimes my being the only Black person (at least who publicly acknowledges her racial identity) on this discussion forum can be somewhat dicey. Please don't make it even more so by joking about my standing guard waiting for people to make racial mistakes.


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Subject: RE: Indian sea songs & chanteys/shanties
From: Azizi
Date: 10 Apr 09 - 12:54 PM

I meant to say "on the look out".

Also I did not mean to use bold font for the entire post. My apologies. If a moderator would correct this and leave the word not bold, I would appreciate it.

------------Done. Mudelf-----------


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Subject: RE: Indian sea songs & chanteys/shanties
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 10 Apr 09 - 02:51 PM

Azizi,

I am grateful for all you contribute. I was teasing, of course, but I respect the fact that it may not be appreciated. Please see your PM.


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Subject: RE: Indian sea songs & chanteys/shanties
From: Azizi
Date: 10 Apr 09 - 03:03 PM

Gibb, I do have a sense of humor. I just wanted to emphasize the fact that you were joking.

I have learned a lot about shanties as a result of the threads you have started and posted on.

Keep up the good work!


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Subject: RE: Indian sea songs & chanteys/shanties
From: Charley Noble
Date: 10 Apr 09 - 04:55 PM

Here's a somewhat crude verse that I composed in the tradition of the old shantymen, to the tune of "The Sailor's Hornpipe":

We're rolling down to Old Bombay,
Yes, we're rolling down to Old Bombay;
Of the pox you needn't worry,
If you use a little curry,
And we're rolling down to Old Bombay!

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Indian sea songs & chanteys/shanties
From: Charley Noble
Date: 10 Apr 09 - 05:07 PM

This one is not yet a song but a nautical poem composed by a WW 1 U.S. Navy Surgeon:

Poem by Burt Franklin Jenness
From MAN-O'-WAR RHYMES, edited by Burt Franklin Jenness,
The Cornhill Publishing Co., Boston, US, © 1918, pp. 88-91

The Lure of the East


This is the spell of the Orient –
The lure of the far, far East,
A lure that is soft and luxuriant –
A bidding to sate of a feast
That is spread with the viands of pleasure,
Replenished again and again;
And music, each sensuous measure
Attuned to the passions of men;
In a land where little is given –
Where the game is to buy and sell;
In a land with the virtues of Heaven –
A land with the sinning of Hell.

You come to the East with a conscience
And the failures of others to guide;
For a while you are upright and honest –
And God only knows how you tried;
Striving at first to be decent –
Fighting, and losing the fight;
Taking a drink to be social –
Hitting it up for the night;
Then you fall, like the other poor devils –
Succumb with a grace of your fate;
It's the spell of the East that has got you,
As it gets them all, soon or late.

It's the lure of the fly to the grayling –
Gaudy, and brilliant hued;
But men are the fools who are trailing –
And Satan is casting the food;
It's the call of the quail in the cover –
The lure of the flame to the moth;
The call of the thrush for its lover –
The call of the mate to betroth;
Softly at first it steals o'er you –
Dreamy and sweet, like a breath
Of incense or sandal, o'erwhelming
Your senses, and silent as death;
Till the air grows heavy with perfume –
You're happy, without and within,
Little you care for what may be –
And less for what might have been.

The blissful siesta a midday –
The drive, in the late afternoon;
And then for the nightly revel –
Women, and wine, and the moon;
The feasting, the music, the dancing –
The clandestine moments between;
The sweet-scented gardens enhancing
A flight from the ball-room scene;
White shoulders agleam in the moonlight,
A form that is truly divine;
Eyes with the dull glow of passion –
Tongues that are loosened by wine;
The clinking of glasses, and pledges
Sealed with a kiss of champagne;
Rollicking songs and laughter –
A speech from a reeling brain.

Women as fair as a lily –
Hair that glistens and glows;
Skin with the softness of velvet,
And white as Fuji's snows;
Lips with the blush of roses,
Eyes that sparkle with wine;
The perfume of blown cheery blossoms,
And flowered wistaria vine;
But the roses will fade in the morning,
When the rouge and the powder are gone;
The eyes will cease to be sparkling –
The cheeks will be pale and wan.

You are down in the native quarter
Taking a last little fling,
Where the samisens creak their weird melodies,
And the geisha girls dance and sing;
The stars are reeling and dancing,
And love is afloat on the breeze;
Virtue is drowned in a bumper –
And care in the seven seas;
The tropical moon is a bibber –
And he's not the only one;
The bubbles of life are bursting –
And the night is not half begun.

Alone in your ricksha at day-break –
Remorseful, and bitter with hate;
Back to your ship, or your barracks –
Going on duty at eight.

And so the night's revel is ended –
And all of the nights are the same;
Some are more hellish than others,
But none of the nights are tame;
Thus it has been from beginning –
Thus will it be to the end;
A power that draws men to sinning –
A force that will crush, and will rend;
A lure that is soft and luxuriant –
A bidding to sate of a feast;
This is the spell of the Orient –
The lure of the far, far East.

Notes:

From MAN-O'-WAR RHYMES, edited by Burt Franklin Jenness, originally published by The Cornhill Publishing Co., Boston, US, © 1918, pp. 88-91; available as a new paperback reprint from Kessinger Publishing.

This one kind of fits in with Kipling's "Road to Mandalay" but there's more pain than nostalgia.


Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Indian sea songs & chanteys/shanties
From: Shalini
Date: 11 Apr 09 - 04:54 AM

Would you like words/melodies to Indian sea songs that haven't been taken over to the West?


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Subject: RE: Indian sea songs & chanteys/shanties
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 11 Apr 09 - 12:17 PM

Shalini,

Speaking for myself only...

Feel free to add anything you'd like to this thread!

Again, speaking only personally: I think it may be difficult to get a sense of Indian songs through this medium, and to really study them one must work in India or, minimally, join up and post on an India-centered message board. I know Hindi-Urdu and Punjabi, and can figure out some of the other North Indian languages, but still it can be frustrating trying to read them in the haphazard message-board spellings (with no aural reference), and even harder to get a sense of the melodies. --which is I why I thing the strengths of this particular forum lie in the "international" sea music area. However, that being said, all info (or links to sources of info, like books and recordings) is great for comparison, getting the big picture, and people's potential present and future interests in this subject as anyone in the world might drop in on this.

I'd love to hear what you've got. Fire away! goli chalao!

Gibb


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Subject: RE: Indian sea songs & chanteys/shanties
From: Charley Noble
Date: 11 Apr 09 - 12:48 PM

This will be interesting!

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Indian sea songs & chanteys/shanties
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 11 Apr 09 - 03:48 PM

This is NOT an Indian example, but I hope you'll forgive me for thinking this might still be the most relevant thread to place it in...

Here is a recently released album with renditions of shanties from a Kabyle tradition. The Kabyle people are an ethnic group from Northern Algeria (non-Arabic speaking).

Kabyle shanties album

There is just one example of a song, in the video (which actually comes from Cheikh Sidi Bémol's YouTube site). Sounds a bit like "Boney." From what I can gather, these shanties are to some extent the result of the interaction between Algerian and French sailors.

Been looking, but have not been able to find more examples of the entire album on-line. It's the first of a 3-part series. From this example at least, it seems like the renditions will be pretty faithful to a traditional a capella style.

The performer, alias Cheikh Sidi Bémol, is incidentally a popular recording artist. Here is his band's youtube channel. The shanties are a departure from his usual style.


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Subject: RE: Indian sea songs & chanteys/shanties
From: Charley Noble
Date: 13 Apr 09 - 09:45 AM

Gibb-

The video from the link above certainly didn't sound like any shanty music I've heard.

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Indian sea songs & chanteys/shanties
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 13 Apr 09 - 12:15 PM

The video from the link above certainly didn't sound like any shanty music I've heard.

Charley, I am curious -- Did you mean that it doesn't really sound much like a shanty, or that it sounds like a shanty but not quite like you have heard before? Do you get what I mean?

Although I've not heard a shanty quite like this before (it's possible I've never heard any song in Kabyle language), it does sound like a shanty to me: Men's voices, a capella, regular rhythm, repeated tune, verse structure of 2 solos alternating with 2 refrains ("pulls" if you like)...even the background sounds.

Are we listening to the same example?

Gibb


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Subject: RE: Indian sea songs & chanteys/shanties
From: Snuffy
Date: 13 Apr 09 - 12:37 PM

The first link is the one, Charley, with the strip cartoon storyline, not the live performance on Youtube - it sounded very much like "Boney was a Warrior" to me.


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Subject: RE: Indian sea songs & chanteys/shanties
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 13 Apr 09 - 01:29 PM

I haven't looked any up but would any of Rudyard Kiplings works be useable as shanties? He certainly did a lot about India. There are lots of mentions elsewhere - such as 'I'm off to India for seven long years' in 'The Nightingale'. And India Pale ale drunk while studying of course:-)

DeG


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Subject: RE: Indian sea songs & chanteys/shanties
From: Barry Finn
Date: 13 Apr 09 - 03:02 PM

How are you hearing these. All I could find was a rock concert

Barry


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Subject: RE: Indian sea songs & chanteys/shanties
From: Snuffy
Date: 13 Apr 09 - 03:52 PM

Click the link for the Kabyle shanties album not the youtube channel one.

And then click the PLAY button below the cartoon of a beer and a hand of cards


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Subject: RE: Indian sea songs & chanteys/shanties
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 13 Apr 09 - 04:08 PM

Sorry about the potential confusion when I posted two links. And thanks, Snuffy, for helping out.

Here is an alternative link at YouTube . This one has the lyrics.

The reason why I originally posted the other link to the video was because that page had a little blurb (in French) of background to the album.

Gibb


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Subject: RE: Indian sea songs & chanteys/shanties
From: Barry Finn
Date: 13 Apr 09 - 06:55 PM

Thanks Gibb, I heard it
Sounds like a short haul/drag shanty to me (2 quick pulls)


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Subject: RE: Indian sea songs & chanteys/shanties
From: Charley Noble
Date: 13 Apr 09 - 09:35 PM

It's more better now!

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Indian sea songs & chanteys/shanties
From: Sailor Ron
Date: 14 Apr 09 - 05:33 AM

Gibb Sahib, I would highly recommend ' The Malim Sahib's Hindustani'
by C.T. Willson [Bombay Pilot Service] published by Brown Son & Ferguson of Glasgow, and still available.
Eki dumah could well be as you suggest a curruption of ek dum [kalas],
one breath [finished], although it could also be from ek, do [one, two].
Kay could be a currupt version of 'ka', a sort of [in English] meaningless preposition, the nearest equivalant would be the apostrophy 's.
I sailed for ten years with [mainly ] Indian crews, so I gained a smattering of Hindustani, which differs from 'pure' Hindi, as it contains bits of Bengali, Gutcharati, not to mention Arabic & English.
I'm afraid to say I've lost almost all of it now.
The crew were never refered to on 'Clan boats' as Lascars, but by their rank, Kalasi, Topaz, Serang, Bhandari etc or collectivly as 'the crew', 'the gang' or 'the men'.
Having to bring in the anchor cable by hand [why is another story] using cable hooks I heard the Serang [Bosun] using a 'sing out' [shanty?. I can't now remember the Hindustani but in English it went:-
Serang: Ooo! Madrass
Kalasis That's not a good place
Serang   Ooo! Bombay
Kalasis That's not a good place
Serand   Ooo! Calcutta
Kalasis That's a very good place.

He continued with other ports, always returning to Calcutta, needless to say our crew were from Calcutta.

In Michael Pallin's 'Round the world in 80 days' T.V. show he sailed from the Persian Gulf to Bambay on a dhow, as the crew hoised the sail they used a chanty, so they are still being sung.

In the 19th C hundreds of sailing vessels had British officers and Indian crews, so I believe there must have been Hindustani chanties, but of course I doubt if any 'collector' ever noted them down.

The cultural attache at the Indian Embassy may be able to give some information, or there again he may not!

Ron [late 'Do Malim Sahib' Clan Line]


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Subject: RE: Indian sea songs & chanteys/shanties
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 16 Apr 09 - 05:35 AM

Ron,
Belated thanks for your great contributions to this thread (and the other on merchant navy songs)! I will have to follow up and look for that clip of the "Round the world" program.
I initially sought out the book you recommend, but having found also the HINDUSTANEE NAVAL DICTIONARY (Roebuck) on line for free, found it to be quite good, too.

***
For people reading this thread in general, just to clarify some language terminology and stuff...

"Hindustani" (sometimes spelled "Hindusthani" by English speakers) refers to what is more commonly referred to today as Hindi-Urdu. For convenience's sake, people tend to shorten it to either "Hindi" or "Urdu," although properly speaking, each of those has different nuances and, unfortunately, political connotations (e.g. the association with certain religious communities). Hindustani or Hindi-Urdu is used generally to speak, with a certain amount of desired ambiguity, of the link language of northern India/Pakistan, of which there are many dialects, but it is most based on the dialect of Delhi-- that emerged from the combination of native Hindi dialect with the Persian-oriented vocabulary and idioms of the elite Muslim ruling class...later promoted as a quasi-native administrative language by the British colonial administration.

Like any language, Hindi-Urdu has loan words from many languages, although that does not make it a 'combination' of languages. Most common loanwords are from English, from Arabic (usually coming through Persian, so not really from Arabic), and things like Portuguese and French (from way back when they first colonized parts of India). What the "shipboard Hindustani," "Laskari baat", or whatever has is jargon. The base of the language is Hindi, but the nautical and sea-life jargon is loaned from a number of languages of sailing nationalities. In addition, the grammar of the Hindi is simplified (wrong?) in some points, probably as the result of finding common ground between sailors for whom it is not a native language. For example, in Hindi ir any other Indian language, one has to modify their verbs and possessive prepositions to reflect gender, but in the Lascar Hindi, that irksome distinction could be ignored.

Gibb


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Subject: RE: Indian sea songs & chanteys/shanties
From: Shalini
Date: 19 Apr 09 - 03:05 AM

I am Indian and live in India, so I'm trying to dig something of relevance out of the songs I know.

Here's a Marathi (the language of Maharashtra) song sung by fishermen:

Vallhavre nakhva vallha vallha
Dhariyaavari amche dole hori
Gheyun masaacha dolina aamihaav zaati che koli

Vaadlacho vaalonetho paav saacha dhaara
Toofan dhariya latha tsa maajha
Koli maayi konache dam kis kinaara... Dhariya

Khandu devatsa lavun bhandaara
Tyaavar bharosa thevun kisara
Baadal banyaanshi gaatun kinaara ...Dhariya

Dhariya saagar hai amcha raja
Taache jiva vammi karthava maajha
Naral punavela naaral soniyatsa ...Dhariya


I'm attaching a quick recording of the song as I learnt it (here) , just to give you a sense of the words and melody. Now, please note Marathi is not my mother tongue and I didn't learn this song directly from a Marathi, so my pronunciations will certainly be off, but probably much closer than a Western interpretation of the lyrics I've written above. I'm afraid that apart from a few words that I'm sure you, Gibb, can guess as well as I can, I don't know the exact meaning of the song. The rough sense I get is the song speaks of the fisherman's relationship with the sea, and the perils of storms, etc as they go out to fish.

Each line is sung twice. The men sing it first and the women follow, singing the lower melody. The men add several "Hoy!"s.


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Subject: RE: Indian sea songs & chanteys/shanties
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 19 Apr 09 - 03:35 AM

Lovely song, and a very lovely voice Shalini!
Would be good to know the meaning of the words too...


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Subject: RE: Indian sea songs & chanteys/shanties
From: Shalini
Date: 19 Apr 09 - 04:29 AM

I will try to find someone to translate the words for me, Crow Sister :).


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Subject: RE: Indian sea songs & chanteys/shanties
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 24 Apr 09 - 10:22 PM

Of tangential interest...
Here's just a little sign that I snapped a photo of in the Museum in Docklands in London. It seems to point to some segregated or sequestered facilities for Lascar sailors.

PHOTO HERE


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Subject: RE: Indian sea songs & chanteys/shanties
From: Charley Noble
Date: 25 Apr 09 - 05:53 PM

Interesting.

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Indian sea songs & chanteys/shanties
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 25 Apr 09 - 08:51 PM

Hi Shalini,

That's very cool, thanks for sharing this stimulating addition!
I was tempted to try to translate it, using various sources, even though I don't know Marathi either...I actually started to. Then I realized it would take much more time than I have! ha ha
You are right though, one can get a bit of a general sense. I am getting (much like you) the ideas that:

The river is an ocean (i.e. vast)...storm....clouds....safe on the shore....hope or faith in the safety of the fishermen... also words for "captain" and "row".

That women and men both sing it makes me wonder about its context. I don't know enough about Marathi culture to say, but in other folk songs it is a bit rare to have both sexes singing together. The tone of the lyrics --from as far as I can guess, only!-- makes it sound like something women would sing. My wild guess as to where you may have heard it performed was in a presentational context, where both men and women were put together singing for the stage? Please correct me, it is only a guess.

In any case, it makes me wonder what was the usual context for such a song, i.e.:
1. Men on a boat
OR,
2. Men & women on a boat
OR,
3. Women on shore singing about male relatives
OR...?

Gibb


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Subject: RE: Indian sea songs & chanteys/shanties
From: Shalini
Date: 25 Apr 09 - 11:03 PM

Hi Gibb,

Interesting message, yours. I've actually heard a very handed-down version of the song. Not presentational, but enough removed from the original context for anything to be possible! I know that in many cultures, perhaps especially the Marathi, women do accompany men on fishing trips. So I always imagined them being part of the singing.

Shalini


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Subject: RE: Indian sea songs & chanteys/shanties
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 18 Nov 09 - 07:20 PM

Hello

Finally got around to finding an opportunity to record, with some friends, my take on "Eki Dumah." My vocals are far less than ideal, but it it conveys a sense of how I imagine the pronunciation, expression, and rhythm of the song.

Eki Dumah (Ek-dam)


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Subject: RE: Indian sea songs & chanteys/shanties
From: shipcmo
Date: 07 May 10 - 06:01 PM

refresh


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Subject: RE: Indian sea songs & chanteys/shanties
From: buddhuu
Date: 07 May 10 - 08:31 PM

Thanks for refreshing this!

Yeh topic bahut achchaa hai |

A decade or more ago I was taught to speak, read and write Hindi, and some Punjabi by Indian friends with whom I worked in a car factory in Luton, UK. I'm a white English fella, but I have always found Indian languages fascinating. In fact, my username is the Hindi word for "idiot" or "fool". LOL.

The posts by Shalini have been of particular interest.

Mujhe afsos hai, but I'm afraid I don't speak Marathi, nor read it - although I do read Devenagri script for Hindi - and I am told that Marathi uses that same script.

I have a friend from Mumbai who does speak Marathi, and I will show him that song when I next see him. Unfortunately, our paths cross too seldom these days...

I hope there will be more to come in this thread. :-)


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Subject: RE: Indian sea songs & chanteys/shanties
From: Charley Noble
Date: 07 May 10 - 09:13 PM

buddhuu-

Excellent!

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Indian sea songs & chanteys/shanties
From: buddhuu
Date: 08 May 10 - 05:41 AM

:-)

Where I live, between Luton and Hitchin in Herts, we are fortunate to be near two towns that have a great, lively, fascinating mixture of cultures.

I love it. Makes for a colourful environment with plenty of different food and music!

This thread is particularly interesting to me because most of the South Asian music I'm really familiar with is either pop music, Bhangra, Qawali or Bollywood film songs. To get a lead on more folky songs as sung by working people is great! :-)


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Subject: RE: Indian sea songs & chanteys/shanties
From: Shalini
Date: 08 May 10 - 08:03 AM

Budhuu, perhaps sometime we should start a thread on Indian folk songs in general. The next couple of months are very busy, but when I have some more time, I would love to share some of the Indian folk songs I know.

Have you heard of the 15th century mystic poet, Kabir? His poetry is sung in many parts of country as part of the folk tradition, and in the last few years, Shabnam Virmani, a film-maker, has been documenting this music and interpreting it artistically through her own films and music.

It is truly wonderful music!

http://www.kabirproject.org/


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Subject: Kabir folk songs
From: Shalini
Date: 08 May 10 - 08:11 AM

Have a look at http://www.youtube.com/user/ManMastHua for some audio recordings of a Kutchi (Gujarati) folk singer called Moora Lala.


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Subject: RE: Indian sea songs & chanteys/shanties
From: buddhuu
Date: 08 May 10 - 12:12 PM

Thanks, Shalini. I'll check out those URLs.

As you say, maybe a more general thread on Indian folk songs is a good idea. I'd certainly love to learn more about the subject.

I'm afraid I struggle to follow lyrics listening in real time, even in Hindi. It helps when I can read the words as I listen!

Wish I could speak Gujurati. I can get a few words where they're similar to the Hindi ones, but not much.

Off to check out those links. Thanks. :-)


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Subject: RE: Indian sea songs & chanteys/shanties
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 01 May 18 - 11:56 PM

Bumping the 'orphan' shanty thread. Would have posted Capt. Tho. Forrest here had I found it sooner. Mods?

    I think the Forrest chanteys are better on their own. Threads with over 50 messages get cumbersome. If you'd like to discuss, send me a personal message or email. -Joe Offer- joe@mudcat.org


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