The Finished Ocean Song Soundscape

It is Darwin’s birthday and to celebrate the Museum of Zoology is launching the completed Ocean Song Soundscape in the new Whale Hall, the iconic Finback Whale skeleton, the inspiraration for the project, listening in. The Museum is not open to the public until later this year, but you can get a preview of the soundscape here:

A huge thank you to everyone who took part in the project, and especially to Chris Watson for combining the recordings of voices made during the project with the natural songs of the sea in his recordings, composing this beautiful and atmospheric soundscape. Thanks also the Rowena Whitehead for leading the workshops, and to the many other people who contributed to this project with their talent and time, and all the wonderful venues that hosted the workshops.

Here are the songs that feature on the soundscape. Some of them weren;t sung in their entirity, but here are the verses in case you’d like to sing them

Unst Boat Song Old Norse from the Shetland Islands: ‘The wind is blowing in from the north we’ll be in for heavy weather’. Sung at the Pevensey Bay Community Workshop in St Nicholas Church, Pevensey

Starka virna vestalie, oba deea, oba deea, Starka Papa Wara wara, oba deea obadeea

 

Padstow Farewell Sea Shanty Sung at the Ely Museum Community Workshop

It is time to go now, haul away your anchor, haul away your anchor, ‘tis our sailing time

Get some sail upon her, haul away your halyards, haul away you halyards, ‘tis our sailing time

Get her on her course now, haul away your foresheets, haul away your foresheets, ‘tis our sailing time

Waves are breaking under, haul away down-channel, haul away down-channel, on the evening tide

 

Whale Song Quotes from whale hunting nations, music R Whitehead Sung at the Pevensey Bay Community Workshop at St Nicholas Church, Pevensey

– The whale allows his death to spare the people from hunger. So therefore the people must be worthy quote from the Nootka People, British Colombia

– We like the way whales think quote from the Inuit People, Arctic

– The whale is a long life maker who brings prosperity quote from the Kwakiutl People, Alert Bay, Cormorant Island

 

Whale Motion Whispered soundscape Created collectively by workshop participants at the Cambridge Museum of Technology Community Workshop

Leaping, swimming, singing, playing, diving

Through the oceans, through the waves

Through the ripples and the currents of the deep

Balaenopera physalus Winged whale with bellows, the greyhound of the sea

 

Windy Weather Sea Shanty Sung at the Ocean Song Finale at the Department of Zoology

Come all you young sailormen, listen to me, I’ll sing you a song of the fish in the sea, And it’s…

Windy weather boys, stormy weather, boys

When the wind blows we’re all together, boys

Blow ye winds westerly, blow ye winds, blow

Jolly sou’wester, boys, steady she goes.

Up jumps the eel with his slippery tail, climbs up aloft and reefs the topsails, and it’s…

Then up jumps the shark with his nine rows of teeth saying, ‘You eat the dough boys, and I’ll eat the beef!’ and it’s…

Up jumps the lobster with his heavy claws, bites the main boom right off by the jaws! and it’s…

Up jumps the herring, the king of the sea, saying, ‘All other fishes, now you follow me! and it’s…

Up jumps the whale… the largest of all, ‘If you want any wind, well, I’ll blow ye a squall!’ and it’s…

 

Skipping rhyme chanted by children in 1865 inspired by the smell the rotting whale made! Chanted by children at Pevensey and Westham Primary School

I went to Pevensey for to see the whale, and when I got there, I could only see its tail

The tail was so long and the smell so strong it made people sick to stay there long

 

A sailor went to sea sea sea Sung by pupils at Arbury Primary School

A sailor went to sea sea sea to see what he could see see see

But all that he could see see see was the bottom of the deep blue sea sea sea

 

Haul Away Joe Halyard Sea Shanty sung on merchant sailing vessels; the sailors would make up verses as they sang Sung at the Polar Museum and Norris Museum Community Workshops

When I was a little lad me mother always told me, way haul away, we’ll haul away Joe,

That if I didn’t kiss the girls, me lips would go all mouldy, way haul away, we’ll haul away Joe.

Away haul away, we’ll haul away together. Away haul away, we’ll haul away Joe

Oh the cook is in his cabin, he’s making duff so handy, way haul away, we’ll haul away Joe

And the captain’s in his cabin, he’s drinking wine and brandy, way haul away, we’ll haul away Joe.

King Louis was the king of France before the Revolution, way haul away, we’ll haul away Joe

But then he got his head cut off, and it spoiled his constitution, way haul away, we’ll haul away Joe.

Now can’t you see, the black clouds are gathering? Way haul away, we’ll haul away Joe

Now can’t you see, the storm clouds are gathering? Way haul away, we’ll haul away Joe.

 

Yemaya West African chant, Yoruba tradition, sung to Yemaya, the goddess of the Ocean and the sea Sung by ReSound Choir Cambridge, arranged by Nick Prater

Yema a se soo, A se soo Yemaya, Yemaya Olodo, Olodo Yemaya

 

Bobby Shaftoe Sung by children at Arbury Primary School, Cambridge

Bobby Shaftoe went to sea, silver buckles on his knee, he’ll come back and marry me, bonny Bobby Shaftoe

Bobby Shaftoe’s bright and fair, combing back his yellow hair, he’s my love for ever more, Bonny Bobby Shaftoe

 

What shall we do with the drunken sailor Sung by the Sing and Swim Choir of over 100 adults and children at Cambridge Jesus Green Swimming Pool and at Ely Museum Community Workshop

What shall we do with the drunken sailor early in the morning

Hooray and up she rises early in the morning

Put him in a long boat til he’s sober early in the morning

Put him in the scupper with a hose pope on him early in the morning

 

Hyundo traditional seal song from the Isle of Barra – Mouth music Sung at the Ocean Song launch workshop at the Polar Museum

Hyundo Hyunda Hyundo o da da, Hyundundya Hyundundya Hyundundya O da da

 

Ocean Vocal improvisation Sung at the Cambridge Museum of Technology and Ely Museum Community Workshops

 

Molly Malone Traditional Irish Sung by pupils at Soham Village College

In Dublin’s fair city where the girls are so pretty I first met my eyes on sweet Molly Malone

Where she wheeled her wheelbarrow through streets broad and narrow crying ‘Cockles and mussels, Alive, alaive oh’

Alive alive oh, alive. Aive oh, crying ‘Cockles and mussels, Alive, alive oh’

 

My bonny lies over the ocean Sung by pupils at Arbury Primary School and Soham Village College

My bonny lies over the ocean, my bonny lies over the sea, my bonny lies over the ocean, so bring back my bonny to me

Bring back, bring back or bring back my bonny to me to me

O blow ye winds over the ocean, o blow ye winds over the sea, o blow ye winds over the ocean, and bring back my bonny to me

All workshops, including workshops for staff and volunteers at the Museum and Department of Zoology created vocal sounds of the sea.

 

 

 

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