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Singing the Songs of the Sea

Grade Level: 3–5

"Blow the Man Down" - Daniel Aikens
"Long Time Ago" - Charlie Bristol


Blow the Man Down
Long Time Ago

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Lesson Plans


Activity #1: Sea Chantey Call-and-Response (I)
1. Listen to "Blow the Man Down."

Q: How many voices do you hear?

A: One leading adult male voice and a group of adult men and women singers

Q: What musical form is featured in the singing of this song?

A: Solo-and-chorus, or call-and-response (the call sung by the adult solo male singer, and response sung by the chorus of men and women singers)

2. Listen to the selection again, and sing the chorus, or response, with the adult men and women singers. The text for this chorus (response) alternates between (1) "Yay, ay, blow the man down" and (2) "Give me some time to blow the man down."

3. Practice singing the chorus (response) in tune without the recording, using "ooh," "ah," other neutral syllables, or solfege syllables: (1) s l sfmr and (2) ssss fm ssss.

4. Sway back and forth to the triple meter while singing the chorus (response) to the recording's leading adult male singer.

5. Explain that the Cariso was a ship built on the island of Carriacou by local shipwrights. The lead singer begins with "The Yankee give lumber to build Cariso" (response) "Come blow, come blow, we can't say no." The song is a sailor song, or sea chantey.

6. Choose individuals to sing improvised verses in solo (or small groups), such as "We're sailing today in the afternoon sun" (Yay, ay, blow the man down); "We're riding the waves and the feeling is fun" (Give us some time to blow the man down)


Suggested Activity #2: Sea Chantey Call-and-Response (II)

1. Listen to "Long Time Ago."

Q: What is the musical form of this sea chantey?

A: Solo-and-chorus, or call-and-response

Q: How many different responses do you hear from the chorus of adult male singers?

A: Two different responses

2. Listen to the recording for the two responses: (1) "Hay-hay-hay-yah" and (2) "Bullies, long time ago."

3. Practice singing the chorus (response) in tune without the recording, using "ooh," "ah," other neutral syllables, or solfege syllables: (1) d r m s (low) and (2) drl t d.

4. This song features a triple meter, which allows for a continuous back-and-forth swaying movement, a natural response to the sound of this sea chantey. Listen to the lead singer while swaying: "Caesar boys, I know you well, But I know Caesar well... . Oh, for a long time was a very good time, bullies, long time to Mobile Bay."

5. Explain that on the island of Carriacou, wooden vessels continue to be built by local ship-builders. This sea chantey is sung by ship builders who make light of their work, taking occasional breaks to eat lunch, stretch, rest, and be jovial together.

6. Choose individuals to sing improvised verses in solo (or small groups), such as "Happy are we who can meet all our goals" (Way-ay-ay-yah); "We work hard but the end is in sight" (Bully, long time ago)


Cultural Link: Carriacou, Grenada, West African call-and-response song, Sea Chantey, Work song

Designed by Patricia Shehan Campbell

 

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