The Wellington Sea Shanty Society 'set sail' on their summer tour

The founder of the Wellington Sea Shanty Society might be named Lake, but his passion is the ocean. 

A sea shanty is a type of song that was once commonly sung to accompany people on board merchant sailing vessels. 

It all started for Lake Davineer in 2012 while he was couch surfing with some shanty-loving Frenchmen. 

"I sung with them for a while, or I sort of kind of mumbled along, and then I moved back to New Zealand and thought I would love to see if New Zealand has some sea shanties of its own."

It did, so Davineer recruited accordion player Vorn Colgan. 

"I was mostly doing hip hop covers and like Led Zeppelin stuff. So it was a new avenue actually, doing some folk music on a folk instrument," Colgan says. 

The duo have released three albums, including Now That's What I Call Sea Shanties Volume One and Volume Two.

"They're also great stories of adventure and really cool melodies," says Davineer.

The pair play melodies Colgan says encourage their audience to sing along too. 

"Kiwis can be a bit shy with the singing but we generally find large amounts of rum helps."

There are classics like 'Drunken Dailor', but Davineer says a lot of what the duo performs is actually original songs based on New Zealand's maritime history, often referencing "contact between Pakeha and Māori". 

The pair stray from tradition but are certainly a breath of fresh 'sea air'. 

"So they're more of what you would call sea songs, but we're not strict - we're popularists not purists," says Colgan. 

When I put in a request for a 'well-known' sea song - the theme for Spongebob Squarepants - the duo was more than happy to oblige. 

They'll be on tour, minus Spongebob, for the next two weeks


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