Chanteys from the Colcord Collection

2024 is the centennial of the first collection of American sea chanteys. Let's celebrate the life and work of its author:  sailor, folklore collector, and social worker Joanna (Nan) Carver Colcord (1882-1960) of Searsport, Maine. Born on a sailing ship and raised at sea, Joanna Colcord left a rich trove of letters and memoirs as well as her books Roll and Go, Songs of American Sailormen, and GANGWAY! Sea Language Comes Ashore. Lynn's programs and resources explore Colcord's life at sea and share her favorites from the Colcord collections, most learned in the chantey tradition still vibrant today.

Programs can be tailored to your venue to include an illustrated lecture/demonstration (see slides), a concert (see video) and/or a singalong (see flyer). Chanteys are participatory work songs for community in action: great for libraries, museums, schools, historical societies, and any group looking to build community. Contact Lynn today or learn more below.

2024 Roll and Go Centennial Tour

Roll and Go: Songs of American Sailormen

  • Freely downloadable audio file transcriptions of the complete 1964 SOAS collection for singers and scholars, including abc notes on variants considered rare in the living tradition today. Great for scholars who are not sight-singers looking to go back to the source!

The Colcord Collection on Spotify

Learn and compare over 150 versions of chanteys from Colcord's collection, from classic renditions by Stan Hugill and A.L. Lloyd to modern versions by 21st century chanteyfolk. Copy the playlist to add your own versions!

Lynn Noel is based in Waltham, MA and has performed at maritime festivals in New England, the Great Lakes, the Pacific Northwest, California, the UK, the Netherlands, and the Baltic. Her clear, powerful voice is well suited to "real head-back-and-let-fly sea chanteys" (Mystic Seaport) and she offers a suite of special programs on women and the sea. Lynn is also a regional arts organizer as Program Chair of the New England Folk Festival and the founder of the Boston Area Chantey and Maritime Sing and of the Northeast regional maritime music network and events calendar

Lynn is a professional heritage interpreter and independent scholar in geography, history, and folklore. She has received awards from the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Natural Resources Council of America (NRCA) and the Country Dance and Song Society as a CDSS Local Hero. A former research fellow of the Institute of Arctic Studies at Dartmouth College, Lynn founded Digital Heritage Consulting to bring traditional song and heritage arts online to create digital community, with projects like the Mermaid’s Tavern online folk club and DIY Digital life coaching for artists and nonprofits seeking to adopt digital tools. 

Lynn’s undergraduate and graduate work in geography and women’s studies prepared her well to explore and appreciate the personal and professional life of Colcord as a social scientist and world traveler. She owns a well-loved first edition of Roll and Go: Songs of American Sailormen and can at least hum a few bars of the bulk of the Colcord collections.

Colcord Chantey Sing Program Flyer

Digital Storytelling for Online Audiences

Traditional chanteysingers are all about melody, rhythm, and harmony. Old-school explorers live for maps and charts. Historians build timelines. Telling such a sweeping story as Joanna's calls out for new ways of storytelling to reach a digital audience that craves interactive visuals. Check some out below!

Slideshow of Joanna Colcord's photographs from her glass lantern slide collection at the Penobscot Marine Museum in Searsport, ME. Compiled by the late Al Arthur.


Colcord Timeline.pdf
Can You Hum a Few Bars_ Collected by Colcord.pdf