Shanty singers sure to entertain at Maritime Festival

GREAT Yarmouth Maritime Festival will resonate to the sound of shanty music from dawn until dusk on three different stages along South Quay next weekend.

And this year the festival organisers are welcoming a shanty group from Germany to perform. Crossjack are six acappella shanty singers from Oldenburg in northern Germany.

Playing on Saturday only, old favourites and crowd-pleasers Sheringham Shantymen will be journeying along the coast road.

This group of former and serving lifeboatmen have been going strong since the late 1980s and have developed their own style of performing while remaining true to their roots and maintaining a strong connection with the RNLI.

Also welcomed back this year are Owd Chyvers and Kimber’s Men. Owd Chyvers is an expression from Hull meaning “old mates” and this threesome certainly come into that category as John Thrall has appeared at the Yarmouth festival on numerous occasions. Along with Zeke Deighton and Mick McGarry, the group have 120 years of singing experience behind them and are adept at getting the audience on side.

Having appeared at most major UK maritime festivals and on BBC4’s successful series, Sea Songs with Gareth Malone, since they got together in 2001, Kimber’s Men are a five-strong group who have also performed in Yarmouth several times.

In addition to the traditional shanty music for which Great Yarmouth Maritime Festival is known, this year singers from the East Norfolk Operative Society – widely known for their Gilbert and Sullivan performances – will be entertaining the crowds with a range of numbers from shows with a nautical theme for something a little bit different. Local groups appearing at the festival include Jigsaw, the Plough Jockeys, the Mollyhawks, DPA and the Jolly Rogers. Popular local band Jigsaw perform regularly in Norfolk and Suffolk as a successful ceilidh group.

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For the Maritime Festival, in addition to fine dance music accompanied by a variety of instruments including fiddles, banjo, accordion, guitar and bodhran, they will be including sea songs and shanties.

Father and son duo, The Plough Jockeys will be performing self-penned songs reflecting the life of Joe’s father and his stories of herring fishing; Joe Crowfoot’s maritime inspired artwork will also be on display in the demonstration marquee. Original Mollyhawks John and Sue have been singing sea songs at festivals, yacht clubs and on tall ships since 1998 and were joined in 2010 by Andy, a fine bodhran player. Together they perform an acappella three part harmony.

Centre 81 is a local organisation who caters for people with physical and/or sensory disabilities.

The Jolly Rogers, who can be seen and heard singing at The Foc’s’cle on Saturday morning, are a testament to the organisation’s success.

DPA, based in Gorleston, provide classes for children in all aspects of the performing arts. If you fancy having a go yourself, head down to Horatio’s Bar where you’ll find Capstan Full Strength running an all-day festival sing-a-round.

The Maritime Festival will also feature ships, boats, music, street entertainment, arts, crafts, children’s activities and refreshments.

More information about this year’s festival is available online at