There’s Nothing Like Pilchards for Saving The Soul – Learning TracksView Craig McLeish's Full Store
With the renewed interest in Sea Shanties taking the singing world by storm at the moment, we’ve had a go at writing our own, specially for ChoirCommunity!
Laura Featherstone the lyricist (and soprano) writes:-
Sea shanties are hugely popular in the folk session I take part in, however it’s fair to say that the same favourites are sung often, so I thought it would be interesting to try and create something new! With the latest resurgence in the popularity of shanties I also thought there might be a subject that has yet to be sung about. In researching old Cornish poems I came across the saying:
“It’s always declared betwixt the two poles, There’s nothing like pilchards for saving of souls”, and I knew immediately that was going to be my hook. It relates to the fact that during lent, meat was not eaten by Italian Catholic communities who relied on the salted pilchards being shipped from Cornwall to Europe, but as prosperity increased the demand for the fish declined. The last factory shut down in 2005 and the salting and pressing tradition was lost, only being kept alive by an exhibit in a museum. These days the only pilchards you can buy are the ones in a tin with tomato sauce or the re-branded fresh ‘Cornish Sardines’, but they are not quite the same!
The original verse goes as follows:-
Here’s a health to the Pope,
And may he repent,
And lengthen by six months
The term of his Lent.
It’s always declared
Betwixt the two poles,
There’s nothing like pilchards
For saving of souls.
We have provided both SATB and TTBB versions. The first two verses being unison can be sung by any voice or combination of voices. We present this shanty with the grateful help of Stephen Lawry and the Mousehole Male Voice Choir, who feature fishermen from Newlyn in their ranks, and have checked and verified the lyrics!
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