New Zealand's Most 'Sea Worthy' Shanty Group™ have been belting out traditional sea songs from Aotearoa, France, Spain, the UK and more, since 2012. Sailors and landlubbers from across the world have been battered by the rousing chorus of this two-man (or more) tempest of pure shanty. The W.S.S.S believe that 'a shanty shared is a shanty savoured', so they pass out shanty song sheets to one and all so people can sing along,
The W.S.S.S comprise Vorn Dont le Père Etait Marin, from the indie pop band Vorn, and Lake Davineer. Vorn is on squeeze box duties, while Lake strums the git-fiddle. Rousing harmonies and raucous foot-stomping abound! They also perform as a 4 piece with drums and fiddle.
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"What comes first the sea or the shanty? For some, the shanty is their only way to relate the un-relatable: the foam of days – a life at Sea. For others, a shanty may transmit a maladie, something the sea alone can cure. Since time immemorial (1804), members of the Wellington Sea Shanty Society, however, have known there is no separating the salt from the spume.
They say the first W.S.S.S Shanteur was half man, half taniwha, half woman. Wasn’t so much born as broke upon the land, like a rogue wave, round Makara way. Had a voice like a porpoise in heat and moved like seaweed in the shallows. This mysterious progenitor soon had the whares and flophouses of Whanga-nui-a Tara awash with marine melodies. Wellington was officially a shanty town.
The most affected began to meet secretly, after dark, at bring-a-bottle affairs on the bad side of Breaker Bay. The gatherings were frequented by visiting sailors from far and wide – and the regulars known as the finest (and drunkest) choir in the south seas. No surprise that when the law came to town, they were driven undergound.
BUT – the bottle is full again! The W.S.S.S have surfaced and can be heard singing once more. What's more, they can be sung with too! - without (much) fear of inprisonment.
The current performing members, Lake Davineer & Vorn Dont le Père Etait Marin, have even been accorded the rank of Shanatee* -the highest honour the W.S.S.S can bestow.
It’s not often a group is at once our heritage and our future. With a shanty there’s a way to find freedom, on the waves of the great open sea..."
Lin Seal | Wellington Nautical History Monthly
*after the legendary group of manatees taught to sing shanties by 15th century sailors