FS42: Rounding the Horn

Also known as “The gallant frigate Amphitrite”, although in most versions the ship has a far more prosaic name. An unusually uneventful sea song (apart from the two poor souls who end up feeding the sharks); the main message is that there are some nice girls in Chile, particularly if you’ve got money to spend.

There’s something curiously magical about the way place names crop up in traditional songs sometimes; just think of the London Waterman and

And he rowed her over to Farringdon Fair

What could be more idyllic? Similarly, the evocation of Valparaiso here really makes you want to roll down to Rio, and then carry on all round the Horn – so to speak.

I haven’t heard Bellamy’s version; if I had a recording in mind it was Jo Freya’s on her 1991 Traditional Songs album. The arrangement on that recording (by producer Gef Lucena) gets a surprising number of variations out of a concertina, some violins and a pizzicato cello. Here I did the layering thing with English concertina, recorder and drums; there was going to be a drone in there at one point but I ended up going for chords instead.

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Filed under folk song, Jo Freya, traditional

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