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Aberdeen church releases sea shanty featuring members from across Scotland

Rev Peter Johnston, of Ferryhill Church, has rewritten a sea shanty to tell the story of Noah and enlisted the help of church members from across Scotland
Rev Peter Johnston, of Ferryhill Church, has rewritten a sea shanty to tell the story of Noah and enlisted the help of church members from across Scotland

An Aberdeen minister has jumped on the current sea shanty trend – by creating his own nautical number telling the story of Noah.

Rev Peter Johnston, of Ferryhill Parish Church, was inspired to try a new way of engaging with congregations after seeing former postie Nathan Evans rise to the top of the charts with his rendition of Wellerman.

With his daughter playing the sea shanty on repeat, the minister decided to rewrite it to tell the story of Noah and has enlisted the help of church elders and members from across Scotland.

Church organist Kevin Haggart arranged the music, and sections were then sent to church members across the north of Scotland and beyond before being compiled into one video.

Rev Johnston said: “With sea shanties becoming all of the rage over the last few weeks, I was on leave and my daughter had been listening to loads. It then popped into my mind to write a sea shanty for the story of Noah.

“Those taking part are scattered from all over – from the north-east to Ayrshire, Lanarkshire and everywhere in between.

“We provided a backing audio file for each part – each of the voices had its own guide track. Then folk would listen to that whilst filming themselves singing and I put it all together in an audio mix.

“It’s been produced ahead of time so if congregations would like to use it in their online worship they can.”

There Once Was A Man, is now available on the church’s YouTube channel, will be used in a service for the Ferryhill congregation on February 21.

Rev Peter Johnston, of Ferryhill Parish Church

The minister added: “We’re focusing on the end of the story of Noah – the covenant sealed by the rainbow, which is the positive part of what is quite a dark story.

“I was wanting to tell the story in a way that didn’t shy away from the darker elements of it but was also joyous at the same time and gives us a hopeful resolution to it.

“If it helps people to get into the story, that’s great.”

From postie to chart topper

Nathan Evans has enjoyed success with his sea shanties

When Airdrie postman Nathan Evans posted his first sea shanty on TikTok, he had no idea that he was about to become a viral hit.

Since then he has quit his job and landed a number one in the Official Singles Chart with his version of Wellerman, a traditional sailor song originally from New Zealand.

He has also signed a record deal with Polydor Records.

@nathanevanss

The Wellerman. #seashanty #sea #shanty #viral #singing #acoustic #pirate #new #original #fyp #foryou #foryoupage #singer #scottishsinger #scottish

♬ Wellerman – Sea Shanty – Nathan Evans

The 26-year-old previously said: “Back in the day when the shanties were sung, it was to bring everybody together, to keep them all in time, to keep the morale high.

“Especially in this time when everybody’s stuck at home, they’re doing their remote working – they can join in, and it kind of brings everybody together.

“So I think it’s just kind of brought it into this day and age. It makes it feel like you’re all united. Especially seeing how creative everybody can be with it.”

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