“I think it’s because everyone is feeling alone and stuck at home during this pandemic and it gives everyone a sense of unity and friendship,” Evans, the 26-year-old singer from Airdrie, Scotland, told CNN.
“And shanties are great because they bring loads of people together and anyone can join in. You don’t even need to be able to sing to join in on a sea shanty!”
It’s true the songs are pretty catchy, and that’s by design. Shanties are a type of work song, passed around by laborers, often underpaid and overworked, to alleviate the monotony of their toil.
Monotony and economic uncertainty? In our 2021? Maybe it’s not so much of a stretch after all.
And all of this happens because one person sees what another has done, and decides to join in. In fact, Evans says that’s been his favorite part of watching the trend grow.
“So many people have joined in, and also the happiness and joy it has brung so many other people, it is absolutely incredible,” he says.
This type of exchange is literally the basis of folk traditions, and one of the reasons sea shanties and the music of everyday people is kept alive through history and across cultures.
Was this just the right moment in time, when, isolated and restless, craving release from political upheaval and existential worry, people chose to reach across oceans and engage in a little sea shanty obsession?
Maybe. Or maybe it shouldn’t make sense, and we should just roll with it.