U.K. folk artist bringing sea shanties to Charlotte County

(Submitted photo) Chris Ricketts, a folk artist from the U.K. with a knack for sea shanties, is stopping at the Campobello FogFest and St. Andrew’s Brewing Company in August as part of his Canadian tour.

CAMPOBELLO ISLAND – A folk artist from the United Kingdom will be performing in communities around the Maritimes in August.

Chris Ricketts’ Canadian tour includes performances at Campobello Fogfest from Aug. 4 to 6, as well as an Aug. 8 stop at the St. Andrew’s Brewing Company.

Ricketts said he performed at the Fundy Shanty Festival in St. Martins, N.B., last year, which spurred this Maritimes visit.

“I just fell in love with the area,” said Ricketts. “I just wanted to come back so I said, ‘why not make a big thing of it,’ and do extended dates with 19 shows in 23 days. I just knew that I wanted to come back; the people, community, 100 per cent always the friendliness. And just the love of the music. Wherever I went I was greeted with friendly faces. It’s just an incredible part of the world.”

During his upcoming performances, Ricketts said those in attendance can expect audience interaction, songs of the sea, fun, as well as stories and life lessons.

“I just want to get to as many places as I can, really, and meet as many people, and do the show as many times as I possibly can,” he stated.

Although aware of the tradition as a native of the coastal city of Portsmouth, England, Ricketts started singing sea shanties in university and really caught the bug in Germany back in 2005.

“I went to do a festival in Germany, and from there I got to know the shanty community and the people,” he said. “I fell in love then and I have not stopped since.”

Ricketts was named a semi-finalist in the BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Awards, and since then he has spent years “perfecting his shanty craft in immersive fashion” performing on cruise ships.

“I had to learn a completely different set of tunes and shows, so I had to entertain a little bit more when I was on the ships,” he recalled.

Now a touring musician and part-time secondary school teacher, Ricketts’ passion for performing has allowed him to travel the world with his self-penned songs and new takes on traditional shanties.

In the meantime, Ricketts will release his fifth album, Go To Sea No More, on Sept. 8. Go To Sea No More will feature recordings of Ricketts’ live performances from across the East Coast of Canada and more original songs, which he described as “exciting and terrifying.”

“We’re just putting the finishing touches on that now before I come away, so that will be finished and wrapped up next week ready for the pre-release,” he noted. “It’s coming together really nicely; I’ve got some lovely musicians playing on that with me.”

Also on the album is Haul Away Joe. As part of the Chris Ricketts and the Worldwide Shanty Project, fans voted for Haul Away Joe to be the project’s second release.

Ricketts explained that the project started when the COVID-19 lockdown stopped a planned tour of four countries over two months.

The project’s first release was an original Ricketts shanty titled All Stand Together, featuring singers from over 10 countries. The song had more than 70,000 views on Facebook, as well as the endorsement of six-time BBC Folk Award winner John Tams.

For more information or to purchase tickets, visit https://www.rickettsmusic.co.uk/.


Jake Boudrot

A graduate of St. Francis Xavier University and a resident of Arichat, Jake Boudrot is an award-winning journalist with decades of experience as a freelancer, reporter and editor representing media outlets across the Maritimes.