It used to be gangsta rap or metal that scared parents if they heard it blasting from teenager’s bedrooms.

In 2021, they’re more likely to hear the refrain of a sea shanty instead.

Why? Just ask TikTok.

The trend has been building for a while now, with sea shanties, “birate” (bisexual pirate) TikTok and much more.

A quick search shows the #seashanty tag has had 86 MILLION views to date. #seashantytiktok has 23 million, and #seashanties with 6 million. Elsewhere, #birates has 39.1 million, #birate has 28.4 million views, while #biratetiktok has 10.2 million.

It’s clearly capturing people’s imaginations.

One of the recent most popular shanties to appear so far started as a duet by two users, and now it’s taken on a life of its own with many people joining in.


#duet with @jonnystewartbass I’m late to the party, but I’m obsessed with all of these basses and got so excited. #wellerman #seashanty #basssinging

♬ original sound – N A T H A N E V A N S S

So Who Is Behind It?

One of the people credited with starting the sea shanty trend is a Scottish postman. He spoke to BBC Radio 4 about the popularity, saying they have “a bit of everything that appeals to everyone”.

Nathan Evans works for the Royal Mail, and he went viral on TikTok in December, clocking up millions of views.

His first upload came in July with that ended up with 1.1 million views from TikTok users across the globe.

Nathan’s biggest success came with The Wellerman, that he posted in December. It’s now had more than eight million views.

It was this video of his that started off the chain seen above. “It is crazy and has gone much further than I ever thought it would go,” he told the Today programme. “I did a sea shanty back in July 2020, just because someone had asked in a comment under one of my videos. So I uploaded that and it reached 1.1m views. I thought there must have been a demand.”

“People were looking forward to more and they were commenting underneath every video after that saying can you sing this one, can you sing that one – it was just requests from people for me to sing them.”

“When they were originally sung they were designed to keep everyone in time with the work they were doing,” Nathan added.

“So I think its the fact you can get everyone involved, everyone can join in, you don’t need to necessarily be able to sing, the words are simple and it is just the beat and the voices. I think it’s a bit of everything that appeals to everyone.”

Google, What Is A Wellerman?

Nathan’s rendition of The Wellerman is leading people to Google it, too.

Nathan has started to be recognised, too.  “Three or four people have recognised me. One day I was delivering a parcel to a lady and as I was handing it over she gave me a funny look and said: ‘I’ve seen you on my phone.’” he laughed.

Birates Of The Caribbean

The bi-pirate (or birate) trend is another that shows no sign of slowing down. The videos usually feature a creator in full pirate regalia or with a tankard of beer,  often referring to themselves as a Captain. It’s essentially a pirate-themed thirst trap, set to a sea shanty tune.

It’s a trend that’s allowing people to be their true selves, and TikTok creators are loving it.


Unsurprisingly, sea shanties are starting to take over on Spotify playlists too, because people are loving the music so much.

What else would make your working day go faster than listening to a playlist called ‘SEA SHANTIES THAT DROP MY PANTIES’  and ‘sea shanties for thots’.

Well, we’ve got good news for you. Click the playlist below if you want to see what all of the fuss is about. So far, 77,000 people have subscribed to this playlist.

You’re welcome.

Are you into sea shanties?

Image via Alamy