The Plough in Torrington sees a seasoned company perform the songs of famous shanty man.

AN evening of sea shanties from some of the finest folk singers around is coming to The Plough Arts Centre in Torrington on Sunday.

Short Sharp Shanties will see an international crew of singers and musicians perform the songs of England’s most famous ‘shanty man’ John Short.

These were the sailors’ work songs, keeping crews heaving and hauling with a will throughout the great days of sail - with a ribald tale, commentary on the work in hand, or parodying a popular song of the day.

Award-winning young fiddle player Jackie Oates, American multi-instrumentalist Jeff Warner, Derbyshire concertina player Keith Kendrick, Hampshire record producer Doug Bailey and North Devon’s own experts Tom and Barbara Brown have joined forces for the show.

Known as ‘Yankee Jack’ from his days of sailing during the American Civil War, John Short of Watchet sailed in deep-water ships for 20 years before returning to work in the South West.

When he was 85, the folk song collector Cecil Sharp met him and collected nearly 60 shanties, most of which were printed in The Shanty Book, the first published in Britain.

Tom and Barbara Brown of S and A Projects, in conjunction with Doug Bailey of WildGoose Records, recently completed the recording of all Short’s shanties on a set of three CDs, with several high-profile folk performers, including those appearing in the show. The CDs have met with critical acclaim, some considering it to be “the most significant recording of sea shanties ever produced”.

The starts at 7.30pm, with tickets available from the box office on 01805 624624.