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Ransome, Shanties and Piracy by the BBC

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Posted by Jock on April 07, 2017 at 22:21:13 user Jock.

Ransome's references to sea shanties kindled my lifetime interest in the subject. In 1992, I came across the Polish sea shanty group, the Cztery Refy, in Swanage of all places! I discovered that, while in England sea shanties are usually sung in the back rooms of pubs, in Poland shanties are listened to by hundreds (and sometimes thousands) of people who attend shanty concerts and festivals all around the country.

Ransome's friend, John Masefield, played an important role in the process whereby the shanty did not die, but evolved and moved from the deck of a ship to the floor of a pub or concert hall.

In 1996, I acted as the Refy's minder at the International Festival of the Sea in Bristol, which was attended by some 100 artists from all over the world. Here, I had the privilege of meeting the remarkable ex Royal Navy submariner and shantyman Tom Lewis, an acquaintance that was renewed in Poland at the Iława shanty festival a few months later.

Imagine my amazement to discover that Ilan Eshkeri, the composer of the music to the new S&A film, 'borrowed' Tom's Sailor's Prayer and that this 'borrowing' took place without any credit to Tom whatsoever.

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