Chanti in the press

Standing in front of me was one of my students of English, a man I’ve known for several years. He likes to tease… He was smiling broadly and waving a news cutting at me.

« Have you seen this? » he asked, « The English Chantimor is in Ouest-France ». He then took great pleasure in reading the text in French to me – I hear the words « accordéoniste endiablé « . That’ll be Dave then, I think, and make note to self to check the exact meaning of « endiablé ». Go look it up. You have the choice of « devilish », « frenzied », « swinging », even « crazed, » maybe?

I was wondering what the journalist actually meant to say, but my guy has moved on to the next bit. « De solids et viriles matelots. »

Well – I’ll need to have another look at the crew! We did have some beefy blokes from the Aude Shantymen giving us a hand, mind you – perhaps the journalist was talking about them: strong and virile (« manly » is another possibility). Very flattering. Good on you, guys!

Now he’s actually laughing – « And, and… », he says « des poissonnières à la poitrine généreuse ». He then repeats it, louder, and with actions, just in case I missed it. He points at me – « Is it you? » he asks in delight. I’m appalled! A fishwife?!  He’s translating in his best English now.. … »With a generous… » « Yes, yes, » I say, changing the subject, « Can I take a copy of this? »

« It’s for you », he says, then starts to regale the rest of the bemused class with an explanation of the article, the English Sea Shanty group Chantimor (he knows more about us than I thought) & the fact that their teacher has been described in the press as having a generous or ample … well, we won’t go there. ouest franceTo see what the journalist saw, go to our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Chantimor/576808955673473

You’ll see us all in action: The frenzied accordeonist, the virile (ROFL) sailors and the « fishwives » of Chantimor. DSCI1869 And I’ll leave it to you to decide if the journalist’s impression was correct or not. §§

 

Publicités

Chantimor at the Trophée Capitaine Hayet

Saturday 16th May; Vannes; Trophée Capitaine Hayet

Captain DaveAnwyl         Singing on the quay

Chantimor warms up by singing on the quay while they wait for the competition (capstan category) to begin.

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Once called, the crew eyes up the capstan. Looks a piece of cake!

DSCI1867Dave & Anwyl manage to perch on top of the capstan & play without falling off or getting too sea-sick.

DSCI1866It isn’t heavy, but 12 people are required, so Kevin, Gerard & Tony from The Aude Shantymen come & give a hand. We also have a surprise volunteer – Michael Wright!

DSCI1865Round & round we go. The crowd sings & claps along with us.

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Bit of a pause, then over to The Morgenster for a bit of hauling. Chantimor’s Chief Communications Officer didn’t take her camera on board in all the excitement, sorry.

But to prove we really wuz there, a mug shot of the CCO & Mick. DSCI1880

The sun came out, so we sat around relaxing with The Aude Shantymen & singing together.

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Got a very appreciative crowd around us and free beers from the bar. Actually, it was a free beer sort of day. Had some in the « green room » for contestants, and yet more on The Morgenster.

The ASM continue to sing their hearts out, even as dusk starts to fall. The crowds loved them!

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Time to see who won: Heard our name called! « Nos amis britanniques – Chantimor »

So, we got the prize for « People’s Choice for Best Entertainment! »

Hats off to D & A & well done that Chantimor crew!

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I think everyone in Chantimor will agree that we had a brilliant weekend with our compatriots from the Languedoc.

 Here they are: drum roll: The Aude Shantymen!                   (Find them on Facebook!)

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Special thanks to: Shirley & Les, Geoff & Hillary, DnA for hosting the ASM; Mike for drumming & taxi service; Martyn for « Blackball Line »; John for hauling; Ian for making the practice capstan & evening hosting; Lynn & Maggie for leading the clapping & everyone who sent photos to me.

(This is just like accepting an Oscar!)

And, all in all, I think I can honestly say that     CHANTIMOR PULLED IT OFF!

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Phew!

« I wish I was a harlot aboard a Man o’ War! »

The shanty « Sam’s gone away », much loved by Chantimor, tells the story of different occupations on board a ship of the line – a « Man of War », which would have had up to 700 people on board doing a large variety of jobs. Along with the obvious posts such as Captain, First Mate and Gunner, Chantimor generally includes the role of Surgeon, Cabin Boy and Harlot.

Well, someone has to do it – so yes – c’est moi – the « harlot elect » of this song. (And I remind crew members that I am ACTING the role!!). And that got me thinking about the reality of women on board ships in the 18th & 19th centuries because there are some purists who think that women should not be in shanty groups – believing that life at sea at that time was male dominated.            

It is true that it is difficult to find any evidence that women actually sang on board the vessels, but there is plenty of evidence to show that they were present.                                                                                 Admiralty Regulations stated that women were not allowed to be taken to sea and that ‘… no women be ever permitted to be on board but such as are really the wives of the men they come to, and the ship not too much pestered even with them’

Despite this, Warrent Officers (specialists such as the gunner, the cooper, the master, the carpenter etc were issued a government warrent)  often took their wives to sea with them, and although it was not  approved of, the Commissioned Officers generally turned a blind eye to the practice. These women never appeared on the muster books as the Royal Navy did not pay or feed them, but there is reference to them in various log books, memoirs,order books and court martial cases.

But some Senior Officers were not so tolerant. When Admiral Cuthbert Collingwood, (a friend of Nelson) discovered that women had been brought on board his flagship, he ordered the women ashore because of ‘… the mischief they never fail to create wherever they are’.

As well as wives, whenever a ship came into port, large numbers of whores were brought in on « bumboats », the little boats which brought provisions to the ships.

whores on board!

The scenes on board ships while they were in port must have been interesting, to say the least, as the crew were allowed quite a large quantity of beer per day.

One sailor wrote that,
‘with the women came drink and what with the drink and the women the ship’s discipline came to a stop. The men and women drank and quarrelled between the guns. The decks were allowed to become dirty. Drunken women were continually coming up to insult the officers, or to lodge some complaint. Sometimes the women ran aloft to wave their petticoats to the flagship’.

There were also nurses on board. Well, I use the term « nurse » loosely because although The Royal Navy of the time had a comprehensive health care system, which included compulsory vaccination against smallpox, free medical treatment for sailors, a sick bay and a surgeon on every ship – as well as an extensive network of hospitals and hospital ships, the nurses who attended the sick and wounded at these establishments had quite a bad reputation, and were continually being sacked for prostitution, drunkenness and helping the sailors desert.

 ‘… those ladies are exceedingly bold and audacious … I had a great deal to do to repulse the temptations I met with from these sirens’.

So there we have it. Women WERE on board in quite large numbers so it is perfectly feasible that they could have sung along with the Shanty Men. For those of you who haven’t seen it before, here’s Chantimor + Sirens in action:

Disclaimer: Although I believe the historical information to be accurate (most of the info here comes from the BBC history site), Chantimor’s blog is just for fun & fancy and should never be considered in any way as a reference. God no!

Trophée Capitain Hayet – 2015

Anyone following Chantimor’s latest antiks will know that we have been selected to take part in a Sea Shanty competition which will take place in Vannes on Saturday 16th May.
It’s called  » La Trophée Capitain Hayet » – so….. who he…..? you may ask yourself.
Well, as all you English speaking Shanty singers know – THE authority on Sea Shanties in the anglophone world is Stan Hugill, who published his first book of Shanties, “Shanties from the Seven Seas” in 1961.
SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES(This is Chantimor’s own copy – recently purchased. By the way, did you know that ol’ Stan’s wife’s name was Bronwen?)
But if you are a French speaking singer of “Chants de Marins”, your point of reference is the collection of 14 Chants as written down by Capitain Hayet and published in 1927.
Armand Hayet was born in Bordeaux in 1883, became a Captain in the French Merchant Navy, travelled the world and died in Paris in 1968.
Hayet His collection included songs of complaint, sea dramas and naval battles. The most famous song being “Jean François de Nantes.”chansons de bord His book “Chansons de Bord” also includes songs to dance to, as French sailors were encouraged to dance together when there were down time moments, rather than fight!
French Sailors dancing(Vicious looking, aren’t they – thank God they were made to dance!)

    For the Jean François song, follow this link: then tell me what you think. https://youtu.be/dOmW9_2z4Ew

La Semaine du Golfe, Vannes

La Semaine du Golfe will take place this year from Monday 11th to  Sunday 17th May 2015 semaine du golfe The principle port for this maritime festival is Vannes, but there is a massive movement of boats of all shapes and sizes all around all the little ports and islands of the Golfe. Every year, the festival welcomes one particular country, and this year it’s Croatia, with special events taking place on Thursday 14th. On the Saturday – there will be a Grand Parade with a flotilla of one thousand vessels, and if that wasn’t enough excitement, there will also be a Sea Shanty Competition held on the quay in Vannes. It’s called « La Trophée Capitaine Hayet ».   Well, as soon as Chantimor heard this trophée Hayet posterwe couldn’t resist entering the competition.

First things first: we had to get through the pre-selection. There are 4 categories, so we entered all four (we had to send in examples of our songs) and were selected for two of them.

Woo-hoo!

Oh – hang on – one of the songs we’ve been selected for is a Halyard song. Now, this means that we have to sing AND haul up a sail at the same time on a real ship.

And it isn’t some little yacht.

Here she is: The Morgenster15_morgenster_slide1

Hmmm. Sing and haul, eh?

Still – nothing ventured – nothing gained.

Allez Chantimor!

Coming next: Chantimor in training….and moral support all the way from the south of France.