Sea shanty group who will serenade world leaders on the beach at G7 summit


‘Five old men, Alan and his dog’: Sea shanty group made up of a carpenter, IT technician and parish council clerk are set to take on their biggest gig yet serenading world leaders on the beach at G7 summit

  • Du Hag Owr will sing traditional shanties for likes of Boris Johnson and Joe Biden
  • The group is based in Portscatho, an hour from where the summit is in Carbis Bay
  • The band will play Blow The Man Down, The Corncrake and Cornwall My Home
  • Despite it being biggest gig in the band’s history, members were relaxed about it

A little-known sea shanty group will serenade the seven most powerful people in the world tomorrow as the G7 gets in full swing.

Du Hag Owr, Cornish for black and gold, will perform traditional songs for the likes of Boris Johnson, Joe Biden and Angela Merkel besides a fire in Cornwall.

The group, based in Portscatho, an hour’s drive from where the summit is in Carbis Bay, will sing Blow The Man Down, The Corncrake and Cornwall My Home.

Despite it being the biggest gig in the band’s history, members were relaxed about their 20-minute rendition.

The ‘five old men and Alan and his dog’ were asked if they would play at a ‘special event’ two weeks ago by a chef from the local cafe.

Du Hag Owr will perform traditional songs for the the likes of Boris Johnson, Joe Biden, Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel besides a fire in Cornwall

Du Hag Owr will perform traditional songs for the the likes of Boris Johnson, Joe Biden, Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel besides a fire in Cornwall

(embed)https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mdBRhP-KPrc(/embed)

Who is in Du Hag Owr and what do they do?

Du Hag Owr is made up of ‘five old men and Allan and his dog’.

The are:

  • Founder Allan Collins – IT technician
  • Ray Tyrrell – retired local businessman
  • Andy Lobb – musician
  • Graham Trudgeon – lighting technician
  • Steve Skull – Parish council clerk
  • Christopher Charles Pollard – Self-employed singer 

Simon Stallard, from the Hidden Hut in Portscatho, who will serve up a barbecue on the beach in Carbis Bay for officials, approached Du Hag Owr to sing.

The G7 leaders will eat marshmallows and drink buttered rum while they listen to the group by the fire.

Band founder Allan Collins told the Times: ‘It’s a privilege to be asked to be involved in an event like this. It’s a once in a lifetime chance.

‘When we found out, it was a ”pinch yourself” moment. We just thought, ”Is this really us and why?”’

He added: ‘Then we thought, ”Why not?” We’re equally as good as any other groups out there.’

Its spokesman Vernon Keen played down any nerves the members may be having, saying they would not get stage fright.

The 73-year-old said they were ‘not nervous’ and were ‘really looking forward’ to playing for the officials.

They said they would donate any money raised to a local children’s hospice. 

Du Hag Owr formed at a campsite in Portscatho in August 2009 when the owners were looking for people to sing sea shanties for tourists

Du Hag Owr formed at a campsite in Portscatho in August 2009 when the owners were looking for people to sing sea shanties for tourists

(embed)https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PHWeyllzHuY(/embed)

Boris Johnson and Joe Biden are pictured meeting yesterday ahead of the G7 Leaders' Summit in Carbis Bay, Cornwall

Boris Johnson and Joe Biden are pictured meeting yesterday ahead of the G7 Leaders’ Summit in Carbis Bay, Cornwall

Elsewhere this weekend the world leaders will eat at the Eden Project in St Austell, which was set up in 2001. Pictured: Mr Biden and Mr Johnson meeting yesterday

Elsewhere this weekend the world leaders will eat at the Eden Project in St Austell, which was set up in 2001. Pictured: Mr Biden and Mr Johnson meeting yesterday

What’s on the menu for the G7 BBQ?

  • Canapes: Scallops, Curgurrell crab claws and Portscatho mackerel
  • Main course: Seared and smokey Moorland sirloin, Newlyn lobster and scorched leeks, with sides of Cornish chips, St Just purple sprout broccoli and salt baked beetroot
  • Pudding: Beach Hut Sundae
  • Afters: Baked brie, hot buttered rum and toasted marshmallows around the fire
  • Drinks: Cornish sparkling wine, German riesling, Australian shiraz, Cornish beer and Hedge Row Fizz cocktails

Du Hag Owr formed at a campsite in Portscatho in August 2009 when the owners were looking for people to sing sea shanties for tourists.

They proved popular and sang regularly across the village at events including the Portscatho Regatta.

The band would play weekly in the local pub the Royal Standard, which would see punters sing along.

Elsewhere this weekend the world leaders will eat at the Eden Project in St Austell, which was set up in 2001.

They will then meet the Queen, Prince Charles, Prince William, the Duchess of Cornwall and Duchess of Cambridge.

Local chefs will serve up turbot, wild garlic pesto, Cornish cheeses and strawberry pavlova.

The summit will today discuss how the world will bounce back from the coronavirus pandemic.

On Saturday they will look at economic resilience, protecting supply chains and foreign policy.

And on Sunday they will talk about forwarding the G7’s vision and values and how to bring about zero emissions.

What are sea shanties?

Sea shanties were sung among sailors as they carried out manual tasks onboard their ships, such as walking around the capstan or hoisting the sails, and date to as far back as the 1400s.

The word shanty is derived from the French verb ‘chanter’, which means ‘to sing’. 

The folk songs are usually sung by a shantyman and his crew in a ‘call and response’ technique.

They were created to encourage a sense of community among the group and to help establish a rhythm to their work.

Among the most famous sea shanties are Spanish Ladies, which describes the voyage from Spain to The Downs, in the southern North Star near the English Channel, from the viewpoint of the Royal Navy and What Shall We Do with the Drunken Sailor? 

Drunken Sailor, which was was sung to accompany certain work tasks aboard sailing ships in the early 19th century, was revived as a popular song among non-sailors in the 20th century.  

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