Category Archives: General
Forty Degrees South is happy to announce the publication of their new recording of nautical mayhem: Crossing the Line: songs of the southern oceans – see details under CDs and hear tracks on our Bandcamp page. You can obtain copies of the album or downloads via Bandcamp or direct from the group by emailing us. Paypal facilities available.
The album was recently completed in time for what was to be the Albany International Folk n Shanty Festival in WA in July 2021. Sadly, the festival has been affected by COVID-19 restrictions and is now scheduled for early October.
As the title suggests, the focus of the album is the southern hemisphere starting with Don Brian’s song “On the Middle Ground”, about the whaling grounds between New Zealand, Lord Howe and Norfolk Islands, is the first track on the CD.
Over half the songs date from the 1800s: some familiar titles like “South Australia” (track 21), are recorded here in very early versions. A New Zealand take on “Blood Red Roses” (track 13) concerns sealers rather than whalers. An American hymn by Phillip Bliss (1871) “Let the Lower Lights Be Burning” (track 7) is still part of Norfolk Island’s maritime hymn tradition; “Nets Below the Gangway” (track 18) is a delightful poem from 1909 set here to a traditional tune. “Across the Line” (track 22) – a love song to the sea from about 1909 – makes a fitting conclusion to the CD.
More recent compositions include three titles by Harry Robertson (1923-95), a Scottish-born ships’ engineer who worked on whaling fleets from the North Atlantic to the Antarctic settling in Brisbane, writing clear-sighted songs about his experiences; a setting of Merv Lilley’s “The Birchgrove Park” (track 14) about a collier wrecked in Broken Bay; “The Wind and the Waves” (track 2) describes a convict’s voyage to Australia. Bernard Bolan’s whimsical “Rose Bay Ferry” (track 20), which topped the pop charts in 1974, is one of several cheerful and energetic songs on this album.
Forty Degrees South is indebted to Christina Mimmocchi and Greg White for their help in producing the album, and to the songwriters, collectors, authors of ships logs etc. And special thanks to the many singers worldwide who have influenced the group over many decades, not forgetting the shanty singers of the 21st Century who have refocused the love of these songs…
What was “The Roaring Forties” is now “Forty Degrees South”.
For various reasons we’re changing our name – but we’re not changing anything else. Keep an eye out for us at festivals over the coming season…
PS. We’ve got a new domain name too – 40degrees-south.com, but the old one will keep on working too.
It was especially significant to join in the celebration of the 40th anniversary of the Hornsby-Kuringgai Folk Club because members of 40 Degrees South (in any number of guises) have performed there frequently during those 40 years. Margaret was one of the founding organisers back in 1978 and from about 1981, she and Tom ran the club until the end of 1993.
Daniel Bornstein from Melbourne is one of the Grubby Urchins featured during the Sydney Classic & Wooden Boat Festival early in April and he gave a solo performance on board the James Craig later that week with the Forties in support. http://www.grubbyurchins.com/ Facebook: The Grubby Urchins, Daniel and Joe Hillel, run a weekly Sea Shanty Session on Wednesdays at The Brothers Public House in Fitzroy, Vic.
Daniel Bornstein looking rather devastating in front of the James Craig and the overpowering lights of Sydney town as a backdrop.