Monday 27 July 2009

Women and sea shanties.

Women in seashanties are often cast as loving sweehearts who pull on their seabritches and sail away in a quest for their sailorboys. See M Jwycha's new article about them at ttp://

And there's lots of ambiguity about cabin boys in such songs, which may have been away to talk aceptably about gay sex with young men. (See pic left).
Women are never usually the robust singers of shanties, which were devised to assist manual labour such as heaving heavy sails up high masts. Shanties are not about what you might call 'feminine' subjects, more about ships, far-off ports, muses and whores.
But I'll be exploring how modern female landlubbers appropriate worksongs and images of the sea in a workshop at the Raise Your Banners festival, Bradford, on Sunday Nov 8. 'Taking the shanties off the sailorboys' will include discussions of such songs as Sisters Unlimited's 'Childbirth's no bed of roses.'

For info on the festival go to

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