There was a salty tang in the crisp winter air for Hooks and Crookes, sea shanty coffee concert at Christ Church Cathedral.Lynn Cahill has made this venue work and more power to her.
The hearty sea shanty crew are now down to ten, as some have sailed on an Unwelcome Tide, but Curly Long has mastered or press-ganged these virtual and no doubt virtuous singers into a fine lot of matelots. They have vim, vigour and vitality and a full fathom five basstone to enjoy. And they enjoy themselves too.
Opening with a drop of Nelson’s Blood (Nelson’s body was preserved in a barrel of rum before burial). This crew have interspersed a a local touch to the refrains to include Irish Stew, jug of grog, boat on the Quay, a night out with the girls, a good stiff . . . breeze, a tray of Harney’s blaahs in the arms of Katty Barry.
With a lusty – Ahoy There, they were off to the Hebrides for Mingulay Boat Song, then they rant and roar like Portally boatmen, before Joe, on button accordion, sailed them ashore at Port Lairge.
An, Oro Se Do Beatha Bhaile, gave us a glimpse of the beginning of summer as they sailed Ten Thousand Miles Away.
Eoghan Dunphy and Dylan Bible provided a lively intermission as the shanty singers rested their oars. Eoghan on flute delighted with a Whistling Boatman who had found love and was no longer Lonesome. Dylan Bible provided guitar accompaniment and Eoghan amazed the audience with his own slow air – Eoghan’s Own.
Tom Mullane led the Hooks And Crookes back with a fine Ellen Vanin from the Isle Of Man (Oilean Mhanainn). A tribute was paid to the late Liam Clancy with South Australia and the deep tones for a spiritual Challo Browne was beautiful.
Curly Long led them out into a majestic Rio Grande before an excellent finale, a Cornwall Christmas favourite, The Farewell Shanty.