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Shanties & Sails: Johnson Girls

June 27, 2023 @ 5:30 pm - 8:00 pm

Free – $25

Shanties & Sails are back! Enjoy an evening of Sea Shanties. 🎼 Hear talented shanty and sea-song musicians for a FREE one hour live performance. Add onto your evening to continue the fun. Book a trip on the Onrust!

Onrust is a re-creation of the vessel Adriaen Block built in 1614. She is available for public cruises as well as private charters. Built over several years in upstate New York using traditional plans and means, the Onrust is a wholly unique ship that serves to educate and entertain visitors curious about the age of exploration, the fur trade, and our early colonial history.

Johnson Girls have been a force on the folk and maritime music scene for over two decades as the leading all-woman, a cappella maritime group in the world. Believing that sea chanteys and songs of the sea were the first real “World Music”, Joy Bennett, Alison Kelley, Bonnie Milner, and Deirdre Murtha each bring a special influence to the group. Whether performing at packed international folk festivals, intimate venues, workshops, or presenting school or library programs, The Johnson Girls remain true to their mission of keeping chantey singing and its history alive, bringing women’s voices to the fore, and encouraging everyone to join in the revelry. Widely acclaimed for their powerhouse performances of rousing work songs, sensitive renderings of haunting ballads and laments, and hair-raising harmonies, they sweep their audiences along in a tidal fervor. “The Johnson Girls, chantey singers from America, took the place by storm… Those who thought a chantey singer had to be male, bearded, and with a beer gut, needed to think again.” – Cornwall Guardian (UK)

Sea music may well have been the first “world music.” Ships were often melting pots, with crew-members from many countries, and who were heavily influenced by the music they heard while traveling around the world and from other crew members. These sailors incorporated into their work songs and other shipboard music the different rhythms and styles from their own often diverse cultures as well as those they encountered during their voyages. Each of The Johnson Girls was captivated by this music at different times in their lives, and came together in 1997 following the Mystic Seaport Sea Music festival to burst through the barrier of this previously male dominated genre.

Each of The Johnson Girls brings a specialty and style to the ensemble. Their extensive repertoire includes songs with an Afro-Caribbean influence, of the inland waterways, of fishing, mining, Irish, Anglo-American, Italian, French, and Canadian ballads and work songs, and much more. The Johnson Girls bring a unique interpretation to their repertoire while preserving the traditional roots of their music.

In addition to powerful main stage performances, The Johnson Girls have led participatory workshops and demonstrations during festivals and folk weeks/weekends on many topics including but by no means limited to: women and the sea, contemporary sea songs, harmony, sea chanteys 101, work songs: old and new, fishing: then and now, Afro-Caribbean songs, ballads, song collecting, landsmen, sailors and ladies, and more.

The Johnson Girls have 4 CDs including the most recent “On Deck & Below”, “The Johnson Girls”, “On the Rocks”, and “Fire Down Below” have received rave reviews in the US and UK in Dirty Linen, Sing Out, Traditional Music Maker and Living Tradition magazines, The Cornwall Guardian, International Chantey Magazine, and the Folk Music Society of NY newsletter.

FREE 7:00-8:00. Onrust: $25


June 27, 2023
5:30 pm - 8:00 pm
Free – $25
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Connecticut River Museum
67 Main Street
Essex, CT 06426 United States
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    Essex Board of Trade, Inc., P.O. Box 322
    Essex, CT 06426 or email Info@EssexCT.com