Wellerman – Sheet Music

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“Wellerman” or “Soon may the Wellerman come” to give it its full title, is a whaling song originating in the mid to late 19th Century in New Zealand.  The English born Weller brothers, Joseph, Edward and George had moved to Sydney in 1839 and went on to found a whaling station near what is now Dunedin in the South Island of New Zealand.

The song tells of the struggle on board with a whale that tows them for 40 days, while the Wellerman visits occasionally bringing their wages of luxuries to encourage them in the chase. It is likely the men on deck were not paid proper wages hence the desire to go once the “tounguin’ is done” (the cutting of strips of blubber ready for oil extraction).

In early 2021 a Tiktok version by Nathan Evans went viral and this also propelled the Longest Johns’ version up the charts.  This arrangement has elements of both versions but has a few extra ideas to give choirs more scope. Some Baritones singing the tune all the way through will give the performance a more authentic “Shanty” sound.

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