The South Street Seaport Museum’s monthly marine music events Sea Chanteys and Maritime Music — the original New York chanty, now made popular on TikTok — continue in person and virtually on Sunday, November 6, 2022, at 2 p.m. ET, in the harbor maritime Museum Galleries at 12 Fulton Street, NYC, and on Zoom.
Join a round robin of shared songs featuring members of The New York Packet and friends. Singers of all skill levels, as well as listeners, are invited to lead or request a song, join the choirs, or simply listen as they perform traditional maritime songs and ballads on the first Sunday of every month. The event is FREE. For more information and to register, visit seaportmuseum.org/chanteysing.
Before and after the Sing, in-person attendees are invited to visit the gallery exhibits at the Seaport Museum at 12 Fulton Street, as well as tours of the 1885 tall ship Wavertree and the 1908 lightship Ambrose at Pier 16 , all for free.
“The whimsical lyrics and portrayals of a distant life at sea have been a perfect balm for people across the country and the world dealing with the continued fallout from the pandemic and lockdowns over the past year.” – Daily News
“Show the power of TikTok – and now New Yorkers can participate! The Museum is really open to this idea that some beloved sea chanteys are racist or sexist. I love that they call it! It There’s also a chat where you can chat about it and talk about the context as the song unfolds.”
-Jennifer Vanasco, Radio WNYC
After years of meeting in person on the historic tall ship Wavertree, the event went live in April 2020 and took place virtually during the pandemic. This winter, South Street Seaport Museum’s Chantey Sing will use a hybrid format, offering options to join both in person and online, having evolved into the world’s preeminent virtual chantey. On the program, professionals and amateurs, old salts and new initiates, from across the street, from all over the country and from the other side of the pond. The South Street Seaport Museum actively recruits and supports diverse new singers for each song.
“A beautiful mix of familiar songs and new ones that should be better known. Having performers come from all over the Netherlands, UK, Canada and all over the US, gave a wonderful feeling of this special musical community that we all share,” wrote one participant.
“This venue attracts great, skilled singers and I’m still learning. Today I came away with four songs that I wanted to learn,” another attendee wrote. “Joy!”
Former sailors on long voyages spent months living together with no outside entertainment, no new people to interact with, a monotonous diet, and each day much like the day before. How did they keep their spirits up? Let’s sing together! Work songs and fun songs, history songs and absurd songs, nostalgia songs and topical songs – it was all part of the repertoire on board. At the South Street Seaport Museum, the Chantey tradition lives on. The November event will be hosted by Deirdre Murtha with The New York Packet, a collection of traditional chantey singers from the New York area.
“The chanteys of the sea fit right in with the New York tradition,” Norwitz said. “Sailing ships were a melting pot of languages and cultures, and the chanteys and forecastle songs, along with hard work and shared challenges, helped sailors coalesce into one community. When we sing those songs today, some older and some updated with up-to-the-moment lyrics, we celebrate our connection to our maritime heritage and also to the community we create by listening to homemade music together.”
Each song includes a look at certain objects in the Museum’s collection related to the songs sung. Many accompaniments also include a visit to one of the Museum’s ships and a conversation with a member of the crew.
The New York Packet was established over 30 years ago as the official maritime singing group of the South Street Seaport Museum. First singing on the iconic ship Peking, they have since endeavored to continue singing chantey in lower Manhattan. Even when the Seaport encountered “bad weather” during and after Hurricane Sandy, the Packet found places to fill with sound while awaiting a return to their beloved ships at the Seaport Museum. In May 2019, the time came when the Packet could return and sing aboard Wavertree. It was a magical and welcome moment.
About South Street Seaport Museum
The South Street Seaport Museum, located in the heart of the historic New York Harbor district, preserves and interprets New York’s history as a great seaport. Founded in 1967, the museum houses an extensive collection of artwork and artifacts, a maritime reference library, exhibition galleries and educational spaces, 19th-century print shops and an active fleet of historic ships that all work to tell the story of “Where New York Begins.” www.southstreetseaportmuseum.org