Soon May The Wellerman Come

Album: various (1860)

Songfacts®:

  • In November 1831 the brothers Joseph Brooks, George and Edward Weller established a whaling station at Te Umu Kuri, on the Otago Peninsula, New Zealand. Throughout the rest of the decade, the Weller brothers were the only merchants regularly trading from one end of New Zealand to the other.

    The 1860s sea shanty "Soon May The Wellerman Come" pays tribute to one of the Weller Brothers' primary functions; supplying from their base "sugar, tea and rum" to New Zealand shore whaling stations. The song recounts how the whalers found relief from their arduous labors when the Weller brothers' shipping vessel, "The Wellerman," arrived with their provisions.
  • Popular versions of this song were recorded by The Song Spinners (1967) and The Maud Gonne Band (1995). In 2018, it was recorded by The Longest Johns, an English a capella folk music band born out of a mutual love of traditional maritime songs and folk tunes. Their version is called "Wellerman." After The Longest Johns' version hit the UK top 40 in January 2021, Universal imprint Decca signed up the group.
  • The nautical song went viral on TikTok in early 2021, with users uploading their own renditions of the sea shanty, often as duets. TikTokkers acknowledge Scottish postman Nathan Evans as starting the trend, which is known as ShantyTok.
  • After kick-starting the viral craze of sea shantying on TikTok, Nathan Evans quit his postal worker job and signed a recording contract with Polydor Records. He released his official version of "Wellerman" on January 22, 2021, plus a dance remix produced by 220 Kid and Billen Ted.

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