The Ancient Mariners Connecticut
Fifes, Drums and Chanteymen
The Mariners portrayal of the common sailor of 1812, brings to life a vivid display of the colonial seaman through an enthusiastic rendition of a musical good time. Built around the wood fife and the rope tension drum, the Mariners play and sing a variety of traditional music. from up tempo hornpipes and jigs to the work songs used aboard ship.
Many fife or drum players are past national champions, and many are former members of the Old Guard, the official United States fife and drum corps.
Listen to the Mariners “Billy Budd / Drums and Guns” , written by Corps founder Roy Watrous.
Ancient Mariners concert on the lawn of the Block Island Historical Society. For this performance fifty percent of the corps was comprised of Swiss members as well.
Music of the sea came in two forms: the work songs called chanteys and leisure-time songs and instrumental pieces.
As the sea connected cultures, during the 1800s these songs developed to combine aspects of Irish and African musical traditions. “Chanteyman” was not an official position on board ship, but a sailor with a good voice and a quick wit was valuable in keeping the crew happy and efficient at its work. The chanteyman often improvised to make light of conditions, food, or other crew members, giving the sailors a little control over their situation.
Swiss Mariner Chanteymen