Marthas Vineyard Folksongs
Mark Alan Lovewell sings, plays guitar, concertina and harmonica and tells stories about the sea. He is a descendant of an old Martha's Vineyard whaling family and sings sea chanties (shantys, shanties, chanteys). For more than two decades he has written about the waterfront and the fishing industry for the weekly newspaper Vineyard Gazette. Martha's Vineyard is a 100-square mile Island off the coast of Massachusetts. The community is linked to both the sea and farming. While much has changed; still some of that tenacity, insular independence resides in the folk music and stories of years ago. As a reporter and columnist, Mr. Lovewell writes the With the Fishermen column appearing weekly on Fridays, spring, summer and fall. He has been out to sea on a number of fishing trips, crossed George's Bank twice, and been in fishing boats to Cape Cod Bay and Nantucket Shoals. He has worked on the National Marine Fisheries Service vessel Albatross IV, the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Oceanus, a Coast Guard cutter and a number of Menemsha fishing boats. When he was younger he traveled across the seas of Northern Europe in a tramp steamer. At the age of 16 he went through the Panama Canal on a freighter and at 17 crossed the Pacific Ocean on a cruise ship. At college in New York City he performed and worked as an editorial assistant at the South Street Seaport Museum. He co-authored with Eric Russell a little book of sea songs called Songs of South Street - Street of Ships (now out of print). Today, while writing about the affairs of the waterfront, he collects past stories of this seafaring community for sharing on stage. He upholds the maritime traditions of his Island and family, by singing songs and telling stories about an age when ships were wooden and the men who sailed them had hearts of iron. Sea chanties are work songs, folk songs. The songs are distinct, tell a story, some offer humor. They are sing-along songs with a strong rhythm. Some are ballads, with tales of love found, love lost, hardship, hard work and triumph over struggle. List of songs include: Fiddler's Green, Greenland Fisheries, The Diamond, Desolation, New Bedford Whalers, Cape Cod Girls, Shenandoah, Ghostly Crew, Squidjigging Ground. Mr. Lovewell performs at the New Bedford Whaling Museum and the Martha's Vineyard Museum. He has sung at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Bishop Museum in Honolulu, Alaska Native Heritage Center in Anchorage, and Iñupiat Heritage Center in Barrow, Alaska. He has sung at the Chatham Maritime Festival, the Edgartown Whaling Church, Nantucket Whaling Museum,the Martha's Vineyard Campmeeting Association's historic Tabernacle.
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