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Published on 9 July 2016

Fire in the Mountain: Santy Anno, 4 June 2016

At Fire in the Mountain festival in Wales, standing on and around a landlubbing ship called Boaty McBoatface, a crowd of people assembled and starting singing sea shanties. This one is called Santy Anno, Santayana, Santianna, or any one of several other names.

According to the Wikipedia article on the song:

"The theme of the shanty, which dates from at least the 1850s, may have been inspired by topical events in the news related to conflicts between the armies of Mexico, commanded by Antonio López de Santa Anna, and the U.S., commanded by Zachary Taylor, in the Mexican-American War.

The lyrics are not historically accurate: for example, both the Battle of Monterrey and the Battle of Molino del Rey (different versions refer to one or other) were US victories, not Mexican ones. Some suggest that this tradition was caused by British sailors, who deserted their ships to join de Santa Anna's forces."

The recording has a somewhat sinister aspect to it - or, at least, that's a good excuse to use when it's been recorded through a £20 mobile phone microphone. To make up for the shoddy quality, you should listen to this version by Odetta afterwards.

Tags sea shanty folk traditional accordion

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