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Lyr Req: Litany of Loreto (sea song?)

Joe Offer 01 May 21 - 06:27 PM
Joe Offer 01 May 21 - 06:38 PM
Jack Campin 01 May 21 - 08:24 PM
jim troy 02 May 21 - 04:03 PM
Jack Campin 04 May 21 - 08:44 PM
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Subject: Lyr Req: Litany of Loreto (sea song?)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 01 May 21 - 06:27 PM

from email:

Hi Joe, Jim Troy here. Tried to sign in and failed. should I just post as a guest, and ask my question ?
The question is, The Litany of Loreto, as a shanty, a work song on Portuguese sailing ship, back in the day.
I'm sure I saw somewhere in my spiritual reading, at some stage, that the Litany was used as a work song, on board, and I wonder if any of the people know about this, or could maybe point me in the right direction.
I'm aware of it as a Gregorian Chant, so in my head there is a link.
I would be happy to have you post the question on my behalf.
At 75 I'm pleased with myself, to be able to do this email....
I remember you dragging up from the depths, the lyrics of Ballymoe,
(a neighbour being from there, was suitably impressed ! )

Thanks, Jimmy Troy

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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Litany of Loreto (sea song?)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 01 May 21 - 06:38 PM

So, this one has me intrigued. Loreto/Loretto is one of the stranger tidbits of Catholic folklore. As the story goes, angels flew the house of the Virgin Mary from Nazareth to to Tersatto (Trsat in Croatia), then to Recanati, before arriving at the current site in Loreto. My friend Sister Judy was head of the Loretto Sisters in the Americas, so this has special interest to me even though Judy is a very modern nun and doesn't really believe the folklore.
The Vatican Website has the text of a "Litany of Loreto", but it doesn't seem like much of a sea song. Still, the call-and-response format of a litany might work as a chantey in some situations.
Can anyone enlighten us?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Litany of Loreto (sea song?)
From: Jack Campin
Date: 01 May 21 - 08:24 PM

I have run into various bits of this story at different times. My ex-wife's family lived across the street from the chapel in Trsat where the house is supposed to have touched down. On one occasion I was there while they were preparing for an imminent visit by Pope JP2 (and not making an epic effort for it). It's cluttered with weird votive offerings from people who'd benefited from miracles - discarded crutches, paintings of ships saved from storms and so on. A local thing is climbing up the 561 stairs from Rijeka down below, on your knees, but nobody seems to have done it for a generation.žic_staircase

Around 1500 the Pope decided to make the Holy House into a pan-European cult, and sent stones from it to be the foundation stones of "Loreto chapels". One of them was sent to Musselburgh just east of Edinburgh and they built a chapel there - the name still survives attached to the posh Loretto School. But come the Reformation in 1560, the people of Musselburgh smashed the chapel into unidentifiable bits and recycled it all into walls and buildings around the town. The Holy House stone could be anywhere. The Pope at the time excommunicated the whole of Musselburgh. I doubt they were very impressed.

The litany now sung arose rather late in the game, 1558 at the earliest:

Or perhaps better:

Mozart set it to music as a young man. Not one of his more memorable compositions. I don't think there was originally specific tune for it - if it got to Portugal at the time it was written I suppose it might well have been sung to a sailors' song. If it got to Musselburgh in time it might have been sung to a sledgehammer demolition shanty.

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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Litany of Loreto (sea song?)
From: jim troy
Date: 02 May 21 - 04:03 PM

Thanks Joe, for the reset of my acc.

What I should have said, or what I'm looking for, is not the lyrics
(I have them since the 50's, and did sing them, like a boss)
But, that my interest is in, has anyone any indication, knowledge, of the use of the Litany, with it's rhythm, Gregorian melody, as a work song, by Portuguese sailors, in particular.

I can't remember where I would have read this reference to the Litany, but in fairness, I do know where the anykey is.

Thanks, Jimmy

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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Litany of Loreto (sea song?)
From: Jack Campin
Date: 04 May 21 - 08:44 PM

I looked up my book of Galician songs, which has a lot of sea songs, and no mention of a Loreto connection. I would think if it was Portuguese it would be in there. Web searching with Portuguese keywords hasn't produced anything either.

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