Barca boys to lift spirits in Albany

Albany Advertiser
El Pony Pisador are coming to Albany.
Camera IconEl Pony Pisador are coming to Albany.

They are the hipster faces of sea shanties.

Five young bearded men from Barcelona who serve their traditional working songs with a healthy side of humour.

El Pony Pisador — The Prancing Pony — will headline the second Albany International Folk ‘n’ Shanty Festival in April.

Festival organiser Gary “Grizz” Greenwald, founder of the Albany Shantymen, said the Catalans provided a stark contrast to last year’s headliners, Kimber’s Men.

“Kimber’s Men are four mature, craggy Englishmen who sing shanties with deep rumbling voices and nice harmonies,” Greenwald said.

“We’ve got something completely different this time.

“They’re young, they play a whole raft of instruments, I don’t think they’ve ever played the same set twice.

“They’re just incredible fun.”

Greenwald said every culture with a seafaring history had its own maritime folk music and Catalonia was no exception.

Gary Greenwald on the mic with The Albany Shantymen.
Camera IconGary Greenwald on the mic with The Albany Shantymen. Credit: Laurie Benson/Albany Advertiser, Laurie Benson

“If you’re sad like me, you can search all over the internet and find the singing fishermen of Ghana, the singing Chinese and Japanese fishermen, Inuit songs,” he said.

“Although the language is different, the rhythms are the same.”

This year’s shanty festival will be aligned with the Albany Arts Festival.

Shanty groups will travel from across WA and Australia to play at venues around the city, including Albany Entertainment Centre.

The festival, from April 10-12, will raise money for the Leeuwin Ocean Adventure Foundation and Albany Community Hospice.

“The whole festival is free. There’s an awful lot of goodwill involved,” Greenwald said.

“I think it’s the most incredibly friendly festival.”

Anyone interested in hosting a shanty singer can contact the Albany Shantymen on Facebook.

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