Around the end of 2020 or the beginning of 2021, one artist posted a video on TikTok where some kind of sea shanti sings. Subsequently, videos began to appear with various musicians and ordinary people who performed this composition together with the author of the original or played it on some instrument. Subsequently, people began to record interesting and varied covers for this song or modify it in various ways. Let’s tell you where such a sensational track came from, what it means and why it has gained such wide popularity among young people.
The history of this song dates back to the century before last. Shanti “Soon May The Wellerman Come” was performed by whaling ship workers from New Zealand. Sailors sang this song with inspiring lyrics and melodic sound to create a positive mood in the most responsible and difficult moments of their work.
The text of the composition tells us about a whaling ship called “Ze Billy Of Tee”, which has been trying to catch a whale for more than forty days. And even at the very end of the song, it is not announced that this hard battle has come to an end. The whole text is permeated with the motif that Wallerman (a ship engaged in the delivery of food and essentials at that time). At that time, whaling ship workers did not receive a salary in money: it was given in the form of provisions, alcohol and cigarettes. There is also a curious line “when the work is done,” in which the work refers to butchering a whale carcass.
Many reliable sources claim that this song appeared around the 60s of the 19th century. It is said that it was written by a cabin boy or another young man who served in the whaling industry at that time. Apparently, it was a song that hard workers took on during particularly hard work: catching a whale that they could not catch in any way, or during butchering a huge beast. The song was first recorded by a New Zealand music teacher only a century later. The specialist claimed that he heard this song of a man named Woods, who once heard it and remembered it well.
In the seventies of the last century, the composition was included in an extensive collection of New Zealand folk songs. Since the first recording, a huge number of compositions from performers of various genres have been recorded for this song. By 2005, the number of recordings of this song by famous musicians was at least ten. Especially often it was recorded by groups of the folk genre. The text of the song was recorded in a variety of interpretations, which are united by a cheerful tone of performance and a clearly traceable motif of hope for a better future.
At the very end of 2020, Nathan Evans, who worked as an ordinary postman, published a video on the TikTok social network in which he masterfully performs the famous sea shanti. This video instantly went viral: dozens of tiktokers began to record videos in which they sing along or perform the song in a new way. In a short time, the original video gained millions of views, although before its release, few people knew about Nathan’s account.
Stunned by such popularity, Nathan released a full track less than a month later. On the same day, a remix of the “Tiktok” version was released by other artists. Both compositions did not leave the leading positions in the charts of different countries for many weeks.
But if Nathon did not become a “pioneer” and released his version of the song much later than many other musicians, why did his version receive such stunning fame? The thing is that it is in this version that strength and spirit and that incredible patience sound, without which the sailors simply could not survive in the difficult conditions of their work.
The song was of great importance not only for her fans, but also for Evans himself. The man admits that if it were not for the unexpected success, his life would be very boring and devoid of much of what he has now. The song, written in the distant 19th century, has received wide recognition from the modern public.