Landlocked shanty singers seek new members

Great Southern Herald
The Kat ‘n’ Nine Crew perform at the Katanning Town Hall.
Camera IconThe Kat ‘n’ Nine Crew perform at the Katanning Town Hall. Credit: Shirley Brokenshire

Like most sea shanty groups through the salty mists of time, the entry requirements for the Kat ‘n’ Nine Crew are not especially stringent.

Formed in Katanning in late 2018, the town’s only shanty group has about nine members, including a teacher, accountant, mental health nurse and retirees.

Shanties were traditionally sung on working ships to keep crewmen occupied and help them work in unison.

“We’re really just doing it for fun. We’re not overly serious about it,” founding member Jon Palmer said. “If you have a sing in the shower, then you’re probably qualified.

“We’re not a finely tuned vocal group — we’re just blokes who belt it out.”

Mr Palmer created the Kat ‘n’ Nine Crew with the help of Gary “Grizz” Greenwald, the founder of the Albany Shantymen and organiser of the Albany International Folk ‘n’ Shanty Festival.

Gary “Grizz” Greenwald from the Albany Shantymen
Camera IconGary “Grizz” Greenwald from the Albany Shantymen Credit: Laurie Benson/Albany Advertiser, Laurie Benson

The second festival is scheduled for April 10-12, with Catalan group El Pony Pisador — The Prancing Pony — locked in as the headline act.

The Kat ‘n’ Nine Crew are looking for more members, so they can give a strong showing in Albany, when some of the team will be away on Easter holidays.

“It’s only a matter of giving me a call. We practise at 7pm every Thursday night at the library in Katanning,” Mr Palmer said.

El Pony Pisador are coming to Albany.
Camera IconEl Pony Pisador are coming to Albany.

“We’ve got the Concert in the Park coming up on February 8, and the Bush Poet’s Breakfast on February 23.

“Anybody can join in. A lot of the choruses are quite easy and catchy, and you can pick it up. It’s just a good feeling.”

Shanty groups will travel from across Australia for the festival to help raise money for the Leeuwin Ocean Adventure Foundation and Albany Community Hospice.

The Kat 'n' Nine Crew perform at the Katanning Seniors Christmas Lunch.
Camera IconThe Kat 'n' Nine Crew perform at the Katanning Seniors Christmas Lunch. Credit: Shirley Brokenshire

Mr Greenwald said he was looking forward to seeing the Katanning crew.

“They haven’t got any beachfront property in Katanning at the moment but with global warming, you never know,” Mr Greenwald said.

Call Jon Palmer on 0487 274 132.

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