“Two Years Before The Mast” Chanteys And Songs From A Classic Tale Of The Sea

The Pembroke Library’s Monthly Chantey Sing 

Richard Henry Dana, Jr.’s Two Years Before the Mast, one of the best books ever written about life at sea in the Great Age of Sail, remains a widely read best seller 175 years after its publication in 1840. Filled with Dana’s own story of working on a Cape Horner, including storms, hard work, and a cruel captain, Two Years also includes much on the culture and social life of seamen under sail, including their songs. Dana names many of the chanteys used in shipboard work, including “Cheer’ly Man,” and “Round the Corner,” as men strained at the halyards or the capstan, as well as their off-watch singing of songs of naval battles, patriotism, and piracy, and songs heard in other languages sung by seamen of many nations that Dana met during his two years in the South Atlantic, rounding Cape Horn twice, and working in the California coasting trade.

The Pembroke Library’s monthly Chantey Sing for January 28, 2015, will celebrate the 175th anniversary of the classic tale of life and work at sea, with selected readings and the singing of songs heard during Dana’s remarkable Two Years Before the Mast. Lead by chanteymen Jim Sherman and Stephen Sanfilippo of “From Away Downeast,” and with lots of choruses for audience participation, it promises to be a very special evening of music, fun, and celebration of America’s maritime heritage.

The January 28th Chantey Sing will start at 7:00 PM. Admission is free, and free refreshments are served following the evening’s singing. The Pembroke Library is located at 221 Old County Road, across from the horse track and fair grounds. For information or directions, call 207-726-4747, 207-726-4745, or email seasongs@207me.com.