TORONTO -- It’s taken social media by storm.

If by now, you don’t want to sing along with Nathan Evans to a tune that was written nearly 200 years ago, you might be in the minority.

The Scottish postal worker is a part-time singer, and the source of a monster trend on the social media app TikTok: sea shanties.

Evans posted a video of himself singing a sea shanty -- specifically, a song called “The Wellerman” -- on TikTok in December and his soulful performance drew the public’s attention.

Sea shanties are folk songs that sailors typically sang while hard at work. The steady rhythm would aid sailors in timing things, and could help keep them entertained.

As Evans’ post grew in popularity, more and more fellow TikTok users began adding their voices to his original video, using a function of the app that allows creators to use the audio of others’ in their project.

The harmonies built up, becoming increasingly intricate and full -- and garnering more views with every new rendition. Other songs sprung up and gathered more collaborators and views as well.

“Never in a million years would I have expected to go so viral and so crazy and reach how many people it has so far,” Evans told CTV News.

The trend has since begun hitting other social media media apps, as users called the trend wholesome, pointing out that it was nice to see people collaborating on a joyous project considering the upheaval of 2020.

Others made more grim comparisons to how sailors were trapped in a sometimes dangerous situation on boats at sea.

Some collaborators have taken the trend and added instruments, or put their own spin on the old genre by mixing it with newer ones, such as electronic music.


#duet with @the.bobbybass SHANTY TIME once again! Adding a lower middle harmony :) @nathanevanss @_luke.the.voice_ @apsloan01 #shantytok #wellerman

♬ original sound - N A T H A N E V A N S S

Added strings to @anipeterson ’s version as well because I got so many requests! @nathanevanss @_luke.the.voice_ #fyp #seashanty #wellerman #viral #fiddle

♬ original sound - miaasanomusic