We couldn't help notice that sea shanties have been getting a lot of attention lately. The American Folklife Center has one of the greatest collections of sea shanty field recordings in the world. This blog post provides an introduction to sea shanties, including links to audio, video, and texts of many songs in the American Folklife Center's collections. It's lavishly illustrated with photos and artwork depicting ships, sailors, and singing. It covers the history of shantying and the different kinds of shanties for different tasks, and emphasizes the African American and Afro-Caribbean contributions to shanties. It also provides a link to our new podcast on sea shanties. There are even guest appearances by Bruce Springsteen and Thomas Hampson. Don't miss it!
The Green Man, a character from traditional folk culture, has captured the imaginations of many in the modern world. Books, articles, and websites on the Green Man abound, each of them looking at the figure from its own perspective. Those who have commented on or employed the image of the Green Man range from historians to neopagan worshippers, from festival organizers to novelists, and from folklorists to participants in Renaissance fairs. Recently, though, some scholars have been asserting that the Green Man is not really a figure from older folk culture at all, but a modern invention. This post will begin an examination of this question: what is the Green Man, and what are his traditional meanings?