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Sea shanty stars The Longest Johns recruit thousands-strong virtual choir

The Longest Johns (Abbie Darley/PA)
The Longest Johns (Abbie Darley/PA)

Viral sea shanty sensations The Longest Johns have recruited thousands of fans, including fishermen and whole families, for their latest music video.

The four-piece vocal group, from Bristol, performed their hit song Wellerman with the aid of a 6,500-strong virtual choir from around the world as part of a lockdown community project.

Their version of the New Zealand whaling song, which dates back to the 1800s, became an unlikely hit on TikTok earlier this year, helping to kickstart a viral craze of sea-shantying and scoring the band a record deal with Decca Records.

The Longest Johns (Abbie Darley/PA)

Scottish singer-songwriter and former postman Nathan Evans further boosted the song with a cover, remixed by 220 Kid and Billen Ted, that reached number one in the UK singles chart in March.

The music video, which airs on the group’s YouTube channel at 7.30pm on Friday, features young and old fans, animated characters, dancers and pets on camera.

The contributions were edited together by videographer Abbie Darley and have been dubbed The Wellerman Community Project.

Also featured on the release is a second version of Wellerman featuring the strings of the London Symphony Orchestra.

“This music has an amazing ability to bring people together and we’re so proud that we could facilitate such a huge project. It’s amazing to see such enthusiasm from so many people all over the world and we’ve been blown away by everyone’s effort,” the group said.

Since forming in 2012 after singing together at a friend’s barbeque, The Longest Johns have used online platforms such as Twitch, YouTube and TikTok to engage with audiences through various kinds of traditional and contemporary folk music.

This year famous names including Andrew Lloyd Webber, Ronan Keating and Gary Barlow joined in with the viral trend and recorded their own sea shanty covers.

The Longest Johns’ Wellerman Community Project music video is available at 7.30pm on Friday on their YouTube channel.

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