Music Of The Waters - online book

Sailors' Chanties, Songs Of The Sea, Boatmen's, Fishermen's,
Rowing Songs, & Water Legends with lyrics & sheet music

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292                Music of the Waters.
—" God be with you "—" May God receive you into Paradise," are common expressions interchanged between passing crews, and they never pass, even at a distance, without saluting one another. The songs with which they encourage one another at the labour of the oar are in a similar strain of invocation, and often have a very beautiful effect. The Rets leads the air, and the boatmen sing in chorus, increasing the fervour of their chant and the vigour of their labours almost to frenzy, with the difficulty to be surmounted. Nothing can be done with them without fre­quent presents of meat or money. Dr. Olin says that " Gra­tuities of all sorts, in money, food, or any other form, are denominated ' bucksheesh.' This is the first word in the language which a traveller is likely to learn, and the least tenacious memory is in no danger of forgetting it. If you speak kindly to the Reis or sailors, or even look upon them with an unclouded brow, they demand this species of tribute. If the wind proves favourable or we succeed in driving them to their work a little earlier than usual, or in keeping under sail till the sun is fairly out of sight, it is sure to be hailed as an auspicious occasion when we may testify our appro­bation by a gratuity. In all their narratives they have no other standard of excellence than the amount of bucksheesh bestowed upon them. The man who has given them liberal bucksheesh, no matter if he has flogged them every day, is always excellent. All others are evil in their sight."
The singing of the sailors on the Nile has frequently been noticed and described. This usually consists of alter­nate solo and chorus in short phrases, and varies with the nature of the occupation in which the men happen to be engaged. Thus one particular air is sung when they shift the sails ; another when the boat strikes on a sandy bank, and they are working to set it afloat again ; a third when the wind is favourable and they give themselves up to singing con amore, a fourth when approaching a village, and so on. Several efforts have been made to pro-

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