MacEdward Leach and the Songs of Atlantic Canada
Photo from the Leach collection, P1070

photo: Leach Collection P1070.

Shanties

Shanties are sailor's work songs, the rhythm of which serves to coordinate group actions such as hauling lines, or turning a capstan.   Vocables such as "Ho" or "heave ho" mark the action of hauling lines. Capstan shanties, on the other hand, set a stable rhythm and often have a refrain. In Leach's collection there are few shanties. The song "Regatta" may have been used to coordinate the rhythm of rowers.