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Join a sea shanty sing-along with Gloucester’s David Coffin

Musician and educator David Coffin will host a sea shanty sing-along on Facebook Live.
Musician and educator David Coffin will host a sea shanty sing-along on Facebook Live.Courtesy David Coffin

As evidenced in a viral video from Portsmouth, N.H., that landed him a role in the Amazon movie “Blow the Man Down,” it’s hard not to sing along with Gloucester’s David Coffin.

So you may want to warn your neighbors before tuning into “A Sea Chantey Sing with David Coffin and Special Guests.” Actually, they may want in on this, too. And your kids definitely will.

Shanty (or chantey) master and Revels artist-in-residence Coffin, 60, will lead a rousing Facebook Live concert Friday at 7:30 p.m., singing and discussing shanty culture.

Shanties are by nature communal and invigorating. As evidenced in the TikTok #shanty craze, it’s a sense of community and energy listeners are responding to with fervor in this pandemic winter.


Two months ago, a 26-year-old Scot, Nathan Evans, posted a catchy ear-worm, “Soon May The Wellerman Come,” to TikTok — sparking a global craze. Fans made videos of themselves singing with the original tune, which now has had 12.1 million views. Coffin (@chanteyman) has some 58,000 likes since joining last month.

The trend is “phenomenal for a whole host of reasons, not the least of which is keeping the tradition alive,” Coffin told the Globe in January. “It’s creating something that’s really important right now when everyone is locked away in their homes — a sense of connection and community through music. If you can’t sing together live, let’s sing together online and create music and share it with people you’ve never met.”

He’ll do just that Friday at the event, also featuring maritime musician/educator/shanty expert Celeste Bernardo.

Coffin descends from a long line of Nantucket whalers, captains, and innkeepers, and is chock-full of tales. (“Did you ever see or read ‘In the Heart of the Sea’? They ate one of my ancestors. Owen Coffin drew the short straw when they resorted to cannibalism.”)


Hear more tales and songs from the sea Friday on Facebook Live. Go to www.revels.org for more details; you don’t need a Facebook account to join in.

Lauren Daley can be reached at ldaley33@gmail.com. She tweets @laurendaley1.