It begins with the steady rhythm of a fist hitting the table. A young man, in his mid-twenties, sits in the black and white photo and is photographed straight up, at shoulder level you can see the TikTok app logo. He wore a hoodie and a black hat. Then the Scottish postman Nathan Evans from Glasgow began singing, as the text began to fade, with one of those strong, pub-trained voices possessed by many Scots: “Once there was a ship sailing / And the name of that was the ship Billy O / T the wind blew hard, and it went down Her bow, / blow, I’m the bully boy, puff! ” The song reminds us of the classic huts, believed to have originated in New Zealand between 1860 and 1870. The songs are rhythmic songs that sailors use to make their hard work at sea a little easier. The phrase “huts” sung by Evans goes like this: “Soon a Wellerman might come / bring us sugar, tea, and rum. / One day, when the tongue is done, / We’ll take our vacation and go.” With this line, a location is determined. The tin is meticulously accurate, because “Wellerman” is the name given to the Weller brothers’ supply ships that in the port operate a whaling station from Otago and have used this route to supply fishing crews with food and rum to keep them happy. Also a syllabary, or the word “tongue” in it, indicates that it is not pure tin, but “Wellerman” was also sung as a “cut song” – that is, it was recited when the whales were slaughtered.
Despite his terrible past, “Wellerman” became a worldwide TikTok phenomenon when thousands of amateur musicians caught in the plague sang side by side in duos and mixed choirs, made EDM remixes, wrote alternate copies, etc. Meanwhile, there are child-friendly transcripts and some explaining that whales killing and eating animals should not be up-to-date anyway.
With all the hype, she finally needed a sexier version of this Nathan Evans bedroom cover. He still stands on the sturdy boards of the ship with a sturdy sailor’s shoes as the wind blows full force into the sails. Enter: Santiano. Because if a German squad discovered the magic of huts a long time ago and moved them from the ports to the stadiums of Europe, it is Thimson Heinrichten and his crew. Together with Evans, they transform “Wellerman” into the sound of cottage rocks, and let their throaty voices shiver, while a mournful violin lets you feel the sailors’ longing. “A match made in heaven” as the Scots say – or rather “made in the sea”.