Covid Balm: Soon May the Wellerman Come

Alan Dearling shares some links to this sea-shanty on-line phenomena, now dubbed ‘Covid balm’ for the masses

I watch too much news at the moment. I think the world has divided into two groups: those who are somewhat desperately trying to keep abreast of every change in the pandemic market-place, and those who have buried their ostrich heads in the proverbial sand. And so, watching Channel 4 News, I was surprised and then delighted by this musical item about a singing postie, Nathan Evans from Scotland, and how he (at the time of broadcast) had had nearly 5 million views of his rendition of the sea-shanty, known as ‘The Wellerman’. Rather wondrously,  it has left much of the world singing along, re-mixing, mashing-the song up! Getting interactive…

Channel 4 broadcast:

Here’s more of the ‘musical balm’ for Covid times with the inimitable Jon Snow taking centre stage in the (full version) Great fun!:

Nathan Evans, the Scottish postman, is in the centre of an ever-changing group of accompanists.

This is the mash-up that probably helped to create or spread the sea-shanty hysteria:

The Kiffness mash-up/remix:

And from Nathan:

“When they were originally sung they were designed to keep everyone in time with the work they were doing,” Nathan recently told BBC Radio 4‘s Today programme.

“So I think it’s the fact you can get everyone involved, everyone can join in, you don’t need to necessarily be able to sing, the words are simple and it is just the beat and the voices. I think it’s a bit of everything that appeals to everyone.”

According to Google Trends, Nathan’s performances have led to ‘sea shanties’ enjoying their biggest-ever popularity in the search engine’s history.

There’s also a part in the Wellerman story for Bristol-based, The Longest Johns. They are a well-established sea-shanty group and they allowed Twitch to use their sea shanties as background music for free in late 2020. And they also contribute to ‘I can sing a song’: 


From there, so many versions of the song have proliferated, including Promise and Frankline Uzowulu from Houston singing along with Nathan in a car, and whose version swept from Twitter and TikTok across the USA and the international internet. But, I cannot find a link that works… AND can be shared here! Sorry.


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