Behind the meaning of "The Wellerman" Sea Shanty's lyrics (2023)

"The Wellerman", a traditional sea shack, has recently gone viral on social media platforms such as TikTok and YouTube.

What makes this shanty town so captivating are its catchy melodies and harmonies, which have led to countless adaptations and remixes by modern artists and musicians.

Its lyrics and melody also evoke nostalgia and curiosity among listeners, prompting them to explore the history and culture behind traditional sea sheds.

In this context, the understanding behind the lyrics of "The Wellerman" provides an insight into the daily lives of sailors and the important role sheds played in their work and social interactions.

Furthermore, it can illuminate the enduring appeal of traditional folk music and the power of music to connect people across time and cultures.

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When and where did Wellermann's song take place?

"The Wellerman" is originally from New Zealand, where whaling was big business from 1791 until the closure of the Perano whaling station in 1965.

New Zealand now has a firm anti-whaling stance, with the government supporting a global moratorium on whaling.

Another signal is the title of Sea Shanty.

The song tells the story of a group of whalers waiting for a "Wellerman" supply ship to bring essentials such as sugar, tea and rum.

"Wellerman" refers to the real-life Weller brothers, who were wealthy businessmen in the area.

Their employees are known as "Wellermans".

The Wheeler brothers settled near Port Otago, New Zealand's famous whaling station, in the 1830s.

Although it only lasted a short time, it was very profitable to trade with whalers and those close to whaling stations.

The Wheeler brothers eventually filed for bankruptcy in 1840.

Who wrote the Wellerman song and when?

"Wellermanden" was sung to coordinate the sailors' work and help them keep their spirits up during the long voyage.

The original author of the song is unknown, as it was probably written and sung by sailors on whaling ships in the 19th century.

However, the lyrics were originally printed in a book titled "Old Sea Shanties" published by William Main Doerflinger in 1951.

In 1966, New Zealand folk songwriter Neil Colquhoun collected this sea hut for posterity.

However, over the years the song has been adapted and adapted by various musicians and singers.

The song's popularity on social media and streaming platforms is partly thanks to a remix by Scottish musician Nathan Evans, which went viral on TikTok in late 2020.

Deeper implications for Wellerman

While the song's lyrics seem simple on the surface, they have a deeper meaning about the complex and dangerous work of whaling and the sailor's dependence on outside support.

"The Wellerman" represents the power of community and teamwork.

The whalers face a difficult and dangerous situation, but can overcome it by cooperating and trusting each other.

It emphasizes the importance of perseverance and the ability to collectively endure difficult situations.

The deeper meaning of "The Wellerman" is that it represents human resilience in the face of adversity.

The song captures the sailors' struggles and their dependence on Wellerman for survival.

wellermann is coming soon
Bring us sugar and tea and rum
a day when the tongue is finished
We say goodbye.

In addition, the song can also be read as a reflection of the human desire for connection and longing for home.

Cut off from society, the whalers had to rely on the promise of Wellemann's arrival to keep them afloat.

The song's chorus describes the Wellemans bringing "sugar, tea and rum", representing the comforts and joys of home that whalers miss at sea.

The choruses for each song are written from the perspective of these crew members.

They discuss "tongue out", cutting off a whale's tongue.

Once that is done, the whales are literally dead and their search is over.

Other verses are not from the crew's point of view.

Instead, we hear more about the fate of the ship, which was the gossip.

forty days or even more
The thread becomes loose, then tightens again
All ships are lost; thereonly four
However, the whale still went.

The whale avoided the captain, who would not give up.

There were even dangerous confrontations; some whaling ships were either destroyed or abandoned whaling.

song interpretation

One way to read Wellemann is through its historical context.

The song reflects the difficult and challenging life of 19th century sailors who lived away from home for months on long sea voyages.

The arrival of the supply ship Wellerman is eagerly awaited as it will bring much needed supplies and supplies and provide a break from the monotony and danger of life at sea.

The song also highlights the problematic and often dangerous task of whaling, a common occupation for sailors at the time.

Another way to interpret "The Wellerman" is through its symbolism.

Wellerman's arrival can be seen as a metaphor for hope and renewal, as well as a representation of the importance of community and social connection.

The sailors' interdependence and their shared anticipation of Wellerman's arrival can be seen as a testament to camaraderie and the power of collective action.

The recurring phrase "Wellerman is coming soon" could be read as a call to action or as a reminder of the importance of hope and optimism in the face of adversity.

Why did it become popular?

"The Wellerman" made a comeback in late 2020 after a Scottish musician,Nathan Evans, posted a video of him singing the song on TikTok.

This led to Evans signing a record deal with Universal Music and releasing a single of the song, which took place in several countries.

The video went viral and many others on TikTok and other social media platforms began creating their versions of the song, often adding their unique twists and harmonies.

However, the song has been recorded several times since Colquhoun first collected it.

New England folk trio record a rendition for their albumso do we1990.

year 2013,Wellington Maritime Shanty Associationreleased their version on an album calledThis is now what I call Sea Shanties Vol. 1.

The Longest Johns is an a cappella group recorded in 2018.

German pirate metal band Storm Seeker also covered the song in 2021.

Most of these recordings were ignored by all but existing folk enthusiasts until Evans' version went gold on TikTok.

Since then, "Wellerman" has appeared in various TV series and movies, including the Netflix series "Bridgerton", the movie "Cruella" and the TV series "The Blacklist".

It has also been used in adverts for brands such as P&O Cruises and Co-op supermarkets.

One of the reasons "Wellerman" became a hit is its catchy melody and simple, catchy, easy-to-sing chorus.

The song's maritime theme and historical origins add to its appeal, making it a unique and fascinating cultural artifact.

The song's viral success can be attributed to the power of social media and how it allows people around the world to discover and engage with cultural phenomena in real time.

With many people in isolation due to the Covid-19 pandemic, many are turning to social media for entertainment and engagement.

Cool facts about "The Wellerman"

Many argue that The Wellerman isn't even a shantytown.

Sea shacks are historical tunes that generate rhythms that sailors can recite or sing while working, such as pulling ropes and hoisting sails.

The rhythm of the song helps them work more effectively together.

No instruments are used and the lyrics are often improvised.

They are simple, repetitive vocalizations.

Wellemann doesn't count because it tells a certain story.

The text becomes the basis for the song, which is not intended as a seaside town.

The original lyrics for the song were written in Maori, the language of the indigenous people of New Zealand, and were later translated into English.

The melody of "The Wellerman" is taken from an old Scottish folk song called "Greenland Whale Fishing".

Can this pop song be described as a ballad?

A ballad is a narrative poem or song that tells a story, usually with a simple, repetitive melody.

Ballads, such as Sea Shack, are easy to remember but rely on lyrics to convey the narrative, which is not the case with real Sea Shack.

Although "The Wellerman" shares some characteristics with traditional ballads, such as narrative structure, repetition, and a singable melody, it is not generally classified as a ballad.

Ballads often tell stories of tragic or heroic events and are often passed down through generations.

They usually follow a unique narrative structure with a clear beginning, middle and end and often contain supernatural or mythological elements.

"The Wellerman," on the other hand, is a more modern piece that tells a relatively simple story about the whaling industry.

Although it has become orally known over time and has a memorable melody, it does not have the supernatural or mythological elements often found in traditional ballads.

The original author of The Wellerman probably intended to compose a sea song as a ballad.

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