Sea Shanty Festival

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Gather at Pequot Library to celebrate the current exhibition, Charting Your Course: Cutting-Edge Navigation and Seafaring, with song, drink, and general merriment. Join some of the top sea shanty performers in New England for what will surely be an entertaining evening. Bartenders will be mixing “grog,” based on a British naval recipe inspired by author Patrick O’Brian. 

Performer highlights include: Marc Bernier, who spent five years as the Mystic Seaport Chanteyman. The Library is also thrilled to welcome Sean and Deirdre Murtha, who have performed all across the country at maritime music festivals, as well as Ken Schatz, a musician and actor who serves as the Founder and Host of New York City’s Exceedingly Good Song Night.

Marc Bernier spent five years as the official Chanteyman at Mystic Seaport. He’s been singing shanties across New England for years, and this festival will be his first appearance at Pequot Library. As part of the Seaport Interpretation Department, he presented music programs for both educational and social functions. He has worked as a musician and educator for the Clearwater program on the Hudson River, and has sailed as cook, deck hand, and entertainer on numerous traditional sailing vessels from the coast of Maine to Chesapeake Bay. When accompanying himself on songs, Marc is equally at home with Guitar, Mandolin, and Tenor Banjo. He has also been active in Connecticut’s Fife & Drum community since his teenage years, when he began playing in various traditional and progressive ensembles. His notoriety as a fifer has brought him invitations to perform throughout North America and Europe.


Sean and Deirdre Murtha, of Norwalk, CT met in the vibrant Irish music scene of NYC in the 1990’s. They enjoy connecting Irish traditional to Old-
time Appalachian and Maritime music, tracing common folk through song who have traveled for work, pleasure, or simply to find a better life. From
ballads to songs of immigration to lively dance tunes, the Murthas sing in harmony and play a variety of instruments, including fiddle, banjo, bouzouki, guitar, bodhran, mandolin, dulcimer, tin whistle, harmonica, ukelele, and piano. Deirdre has been singing maritime music with South Street Seaport’s resident group The New York Packet and the NY-based female quartet The Johnson Girls for over 25 years. She and Sean host a monthly Chantey Sing in Rowayton, CT and continue to attend Irish traditional music sessions in the tri-state area.



Ken Schatz is the Founder and Host of Exceedingly Good Song Night, Ken has a lifetime of experience in traditional music and an eclectic repertoire of sea songs and chanteys, gospel, blues, ballads, and work songs. He has performed and taught at major folk festivals, museums, clubs, and concert venues on both sides of the Atlantic, with many of America and Britain’s foremost interpreters of traditional song. Ken is a professional acting coach and teaches Traditional/Folk/Roots Singing Styles and Performance Technique at Jalopy Theatre and School of Music.

Ken is affiliated with numerous musical institutions, including: The South Street Seaport’s Packet, the Jalopy Theater, as well as many others.





This exhibition is sponsored by Connecticut Humanities.


April 4
6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
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