The call went out across seas and oceans for mates of any fandom to come and join The Brobdingnagian Bards in song at Geeky Sea Shanties Thursday Night in Hyatt Hanover C–E. For those new to Filk music, or shanties, The Bards taught that shanties were sung on ships as a way to measure time for tasks, and that Geeky Shanties were sung “about the work that we actually do.”
This event was a collaboration between the Filk Music Track and the Alternate & Historical Fiction Track. The two tracks created a community that could be felt immediately upon entering the room where attendees took their seat set in a circle around The Bards. The circular room setting felt oddly like being at sea, with ebbs and waves of attendees from all fandoms waiting excitedly to join in song in the first event of the Filk and Alternate & Historical Fiction Tracks.
The Brobdingnagian Bards started the night off with laughs and a starter shanty to let attendees get the hang of singing along. DCTV then led the most haunting rendition of “Row Row Row Your Boat” sung in rounds that even the most practiced of choirs could never emulate. The Brobdingnagian Bards led a few more songs before opening the floor to attendees to tell their story as they felt it needed to be told – comedically and musically.
Fans and notable attendees Captain Jack Sparrow and the Mario brothers watched as souls were bared in the center of the song circle. The room stomped and sang along to classic pirate songs warning of the dangers of using “Reply All” in email chains, redundant choice making in Mass Effect 3, and chugging coffee before getting to a meeting (they had Teams on pirate ships, right? Or was it Zoom? Skype??).
Fans eagerly awaiting the Virtual Irish Drinking Songs for Cat Lovers later Thursday night also got a little sneak peek with Marc Gunn’s cat shanty. It goes “meow, purr, meow, purr, meow, purr, hiss,” but reading it doesn’t quite do the shanty justice.
This reunion performance from The Bards (their first since Dragon Con 2018) gave a plethora of wisdom; one could argue that the most important is inclusivity and community. “All those who go to Dragon Con must be people, people with beards. All those who go to Dragon Con, they have beards and they’re with us” – if you don’t have a beard, make one, because yes you do and you’re with us.