In a few short years the Longest Johns have gone from singing sea shanties in a kitchen to International folk festivals, tours and TV appearances and have gained a huge online following. Here at Harwich International Shanty Festival we are so pleased to welcome them back as guests, following their transition to stardom. With innovative interpretations of many well known shanties, interspersed with some lesser known gems they delight their many fans and those who are just discovering them.
From La Rochelle in France, Les Brouilleurs d’Écoutes describe themselves as a Franco-British group with an Irish flavour. Their upbeat multi-instrumental approach to shanties has earned them a strong following both in their home country and abroad. Les Brouilleurs d’Écoutes made a huge impression on their first visit to Harwich and we are pleased to welcome them back.
Stuart is a Kentish English folksinger, who not only pens his own songs but also plays well known traditional folk and sea songs. In addition to appearances in the UK, he also performs in The Netherlands, Germany, Norway, Poland and Australia. Now resident in The Netherlands Stuart is also part of the well known shanty group ‘Armstrong’s Patent’ that perform at many festivals and events in Europe.
Malcolm and Pete, both well established figures on the Kent Folk scene, will be performing together at HISF with a wide range of maritime songs often accompanied by banjo or concertina. They both share a passion for songs of the sea and an in depth knowledge of their subject which they share with their audiences.
“Za Bortom!” (Men Overboard!)
Men Overboard, from St. Petersburg, Russia, made a big impression on their first visit to Harwich last year and so we are pleased to welcome them back in 2018. Their original performances combine a mixture of traditional sea songs and shanties, including some Russian versions and exciting new material written by one of the trio – Robert Palomo.
We just had to have these guys back again! El Pony Pisador from Barcelona, made such a huge impression on the Festival last year with their vibrant, exciting and varied performances. Sea songs and shanties mix with havaneres, tuvan throat singing, tarantellas and yodelling for one of the most original acts on the scene.
Musician, scholar and educator Bob Walser’s musical career spans decades and continents. In the early 1980s he made his living as a shantyman at Mystic Seaport, one of the largest maritime museums in the USA. Since then he has presented folk music and dance programmes in schools across the USA, and performed as a singer, dance leader and musician around the world.
Since 2002 he has been working on the James Madison Carpenter folksong collection based at Aberdeen University and will be presenting a series of workshops at Harwich International Shanty Festival based upon this work. Expect an enlightening collection of previously unknown shanties and variations on some more familiar ones. In addition, he has three CDs to his credit as well as guest appearances on another dozen recordings in the US, France and England.
Four guys, Bob, Rob, Bob and Allan, who have been singing and drinking together for well over 20 years. The majority of our material is a capella but we do use instruments: melodeon, concertina and bouzouki. Like most shanty groups we like a good rousing song, and like most shanty groups we have tried to keep our ears open for one or two songs that have not earned a well-trodden path on the shanty circuit. For anyone who wishes to take us home, we can offer a choice of two CDs, or we can simply all jump into your car! We look forward to singing with you, so cat the anchor and let’s get under way.
Dom was well known on the Shanty scene throughout the U.K. and abroad, both as a solo artist and as a member of The Shanty Crew. He joined us in 2017 as a solo artist when his encyclopaedic knowledge of the sea, shanties and his powerful voice made him a welcome addition to the festival.
Dom passed away in April 2018 and will be sorely missed.
We are delighted to welcome Grietje Sprot back to the festival after they made such an impression last year. Coming from Hindeloopen, an ancient harbour town in Friesland, Netherlands, members of this group all love fish and all love singing and so became Grietje Sprot, the Fishwives Choir. They always perform in their distinctive traditional costumes, typical of Dutch fishwives of the 1920s. Their repertoire includes ballads and songs in Friesian and Dutch, all about fish, the sea, sailors, love and tragedy.
Inner State are now a familiar sight at our festivals.
This year Andy and Christine will be Inner State as Hilda and Erik, Viking Invaders, up at the Redoubt Fort on Saturday. Come and see their 30 minute Street Theatre or watch as they stroll, via a Viking Longship, along the Quayside all day Sunday.
Our first ever Italian Shanty Crew! And la Morescha are rather special as they are the only group in Italy to be concentrating on Italian maritime heritage. Their repertoire covers songs from Roman times up to the present day and is accompanied by authentic baroque instruments. They will also be teaming up with Jack Coutts, a veteran shanty singer from Stormalong John, to sing a few English shanties as well. All in all, an experience not to be missed
No one in Harwich has stopped talking about Patrick and Miguel since they performed here several years ago. And so for 2017 we are delighted that they are able to visit us again. Hailing from Fécamp in Normandy, Patrick and Miguel perform with a symbiosis which can be felt as well as heard. Both superb singers in their own right, their voices compliment each other’s so completely and make for a magical performance.
The Rogues Shanty Chorus hail from Lowestoft and perform, revive and revitalise the music and heritage that the prominent industries of the town and its workers created.
The group sing working songs ranging from the Middle Ages to early-20th century, including sea shanties and arias about the sea as well as whaling songs, naval songs, Stevedores’ workers’ songs, foc’sle songs and romantic old-century tunes of ne’er-do-wells, which include refrains of seafarers, wreckers and smugglers and murder ballads.
Led under the musical direction of brothers Stephen and Paul Amer, the group are earning themselves a reputation for humorous, engaging and sometimes sentimental performances.