A few sailing enthusiasts from the village of Nuenen (perhaps better known because of Van Gogh), after visiting an English harbour pub, decided that Nuenen should have a shanty choir. Surprisingly it took little time to get together about twenty applicants and so on 22 September 1997 a start was made. In less than two years the membership rose to fifty and then it was decided to grow no further.
The name “Dwarsgetuigd” means “Square-rigged” and refers not only to ships but also to a certain contrariness for which the people of Nuenen are known and which is described by the Dutch word “dwars”. It may look odd to have a shanty choir in a place about 120 km from the sea, but it should be mentioned that about half of our members owns a boat and spends many summer weekends on the seaside. Another peculiarity is that we don’t want to be called a choir, so we invented the word “Singery” (in Dutch “Zingerij”) to describe ourselves and our activities.
Under the able and enthusiastic direction of Horst Rickels the group has built up a repertoire of about 80 shanties and forebitters and has given many performances. Our goal is to sing the old shanties, not as a static choir, but adding a bit of drama to recreate the work environment on the old sailing ships in which these shanties were used. Since 1 January 2009 Horst is back as our director. The Singery is a member of the International Shanty and Sea Song Association and Shanty Nederland, see the Links at the bottom of the page.
Our singing is accompanied by an old-fashioned accordion, played by Jan Verlinden who also happens to be an avid collector of literature about the history of sailing.
In the fall of 2000 the first CD “shanties en and songs of the sea” with a selection from our repertoire has been produced and in 2004 the second one “His ’em up” even better, saw the light. In 2007 we performed a musical show “Jonas” which tells the story of whalermen hunting near Alaska and relaxing afterwards on a South Sea island.
In 2014 we have produced a new CD “Nuenen aan Zee”, (Nuenen at sea). This CD is remarkable for the reason that the village of Nuenen in the early days probably was situated at sea. Most songs are authentic shanties song on the old sailing vessels and in the fishery. Some of the shanties have a new image, special the RAP-song “Zeiknat”(soaking wet).
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