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Maritime blackmail is everywhere in TikTok. that’s why


If Wellerman does not arrive soon, they will be left without rum.

Getty images

If the sea is calling you, these days it could be through TikTok. Although the video-based social networking platform can usually resemble dance challenges, synchronizing lip and comedy sketches, the latest trend being washed ashore is the singing of sea coins from before.

The Internet titled this sea moment on social media #ShantyTok. Around the end of December, TikTok has seen a stream of interest in videos of people who not only sing sea shanties, but also make impressive, a cappella arrangements of tunes that are traditionally sung by the crews of merchant sailing ships. #ShantyTok comes full of many harmonies and resonant bass lines. So far, videos tagged with #seashanty have more than 74 million views. And that number is still rising. On Tuesday, Google Trends tweeted that “sea urchins” were sought after more than any other time in the platform’s history. Even Elon Musk tweeted.

It turns out that the complaint stuck on whaling while the rum is running out is the preferred mood for the first week of 2021.

At the center of the vortex seems to be 26-year-old Nathan Evans, a postman outside Glasgow, Scotland, whose 19th-century New Zealand folk song Wellerman has surpassed 1 million views on TikTok and is included in countless other TikToks. The song tells the story of whalers waiting on a supply ship.


Wellerman. # seashanty # sea # shanty # viral # sing # acoustic # pirate # new # original # fyp # foryou # foryoupage # singer # scottishsinger # scottish

♬ original sound – NATHANEVANSS

“He was going crazy. I don’t really know what happened,” said Evans, who is mostly found on social platforms like Spotify like Nathan Evans.

Evans, who has largely published videos of Scottish folk songs, pop covers and, more recently, his own material, says he can hardly believe how much people like maritime blackmail. He had about 45,000 followers on TikTok earlier in December, and that number exceeded 347,000.

When were marine shunts invented?

The fact that maritime blackmail has found its way into the 21st century social networking platform is an unexpected development. According to the online historical magazine Historic UK, maritime blackmail dates back to at least the mid-1400s. Signing together and keeping up the pace would help crews stay in sync for tasks like lifting sails when everyone had to push or pull at the same time. There would usually be a lead singer or blackmailer and the crew would enter people.

As steam power eventually spread over the following centuries and there was less need for manual labor on ships, maritime blackmail began to die out, says the United Kingdom. By the 20th century, they were almost forgotten.

What exactly is Wellerman?

Although it is virtually impossible to determine who and when released TikTok’s first sea urchin and when, Evans released his first (a song called Leave Her, Johnny) in July. To his surprise, he broke 1 million views and gathered new followers and requests for more. On December 23, he released the Scotsman, divided into three videos. However, Wellerman did take off.

“Wellerman may be here soon to bring us sugar, tea and rum. One day, when we’re done with our tongues, we’ll take a break and leave,” an earworm is unlikely.

He already had a love for Wellerman. User Jacob Doublesin started making sketches using the song in late October. His biography says that he is “Wellerman’s Sea-EO.” Earlier in December, user Rismith uploaded his version of Wellerman and made duet versions of TikTok (you can record your own split-screen video with another), adding harmonies. Google Trends showed a smaller jump in Wellerman searches at the time, but when the Evans version hit, the search word exploded on Google. He says things have calmed down a bit in a matter of days, but another blow came when 19-year-old Luke Taylor added his amazingly deep baritone to the mix.

Since then, people have added all sorts of harmonies:


#duet with @ the.bobbybass SHANTY TIME once again! Add lower mean harmony 🙂 @nathanevanss @ _luke.the.voice_ @ apsloan01 # shantytok # wellerman

♬ original sound – NATHANEVANSS



I also added strings to the @anipeterson version because I received so many requests! @nathanevanss @ _luke.the.voice_ # fyp # seashanty # wellerman # viral # giddle

♬ original sound – miaasanomusic

They turned it into a club-ready remix:

@ thats.mindblowing

## duet with @ _luke.the.voice_ ## bass ## xyzbca ## xyzcba ## stitch ## foru ## foryou ## fyp ## banger ## seashanty @nathanevanss

♬ original sound – NATHANEVANSS

And many people joke about the novelty of marine blackmail from all the things that are becoming popular in an application so often associated with youth:

@ moose_0

If it’s not about the salty air and the pain for a lover, you had to leave the shore, I DON’T WANT TO HEAR ## fyp ## foryoupage ## seashanty ## shantyseason

♬ original sound – Justin Musso

It is difficult to say exactly why this happened. This can be the weird factor or the appeal of watching talented people do cool things. Or perhaps, as some research suggests, choral singing can have positive effects on people’s well-being. Maybe after a year of peak stress and turmoil, the rich harmonies and 4/4 rhythms provide some kind of balm.

“For me, it’s quite therapeutic because it’s just the vocals and the bass drum and the people harmonizing,” Evans says. “A lot of people are together.”

Whatever the reason, maritime blackmail continues to spread. Popular vlogger Hank Green recorded a duet in which he explained what Wellerman was all about and what exactly the lyrics “when the tongue sticks” (slaughtering a meat whale) mean. Another user named Hunter Evanson turns pop songs like Cardi B’s WAP featuring Megan Thee Stallion into crazy.

Evans, for his part, followed Welmerman with an 1800 tune called “Drunk Sailor” (exploring what can be pulled on a drunken sailor early in the morning, like shaving his belly with a rusty razor), and he has more nonsense in the store, mostly drawing on the orders he receives at TikTok. He is also looking to record a short EP and release it on the music platform Bandcamp.

Until then, TikTokers will have to give rations and keep waiting for Wellerman.

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