Fishermen seek to storm charts with sea shanties

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The Independent Culture

A group of fishermen from Cornwall has netted a major record deal - and aims to sail to the top of the charts with sea shanties.

The Fisherman's Friends, from Port Isaac, have landed an album deal - said to be worth £1 million - with the company behind acts such as Lady Gaga, Take That and Amy Winehouse.



The 10-strong group, which also has a date at the Glastonbury Festival, will issue an album of traditional tunes and folk songs next month.



The deal follows a wave of unusual album hits for music company Universal in recent years which have included releases by the Fron Male Voice Choir and the Coldstream Guards. This month the company released an album of tunes by brass bands. The album Port Isaac's Fisherman's Friends was due to be released on the group's own label Marine Records. But Universal pulled in the prize catch after record producer Rupert Christie spotted the group performing in a pub while he was on holiday.



The singers have been performing locally for more than 15 years. The troupe - who are or have been fishermen, lifeboatmen and coastguards - perform weekly shows on the harbour front during the summer months in the fishing village of Port Isaac.



Audiences who have been reeled in by performances have included Chris Evans, Gloria Hunniford and Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen.



Founding member Jeremy Brown, who has two brothers in the group, said: "We all grew up together with the exception of one member of the group although he has lived in the village for maybe 25 or 30 years so he is almost one of us.



"We get together each Friday night on this area of concrete by the harbour which is a lovely setting - unless it is raining and blowing. Then we just retire to the pub."



Members of the group - who released two low-key acapella CDs themselves - are mainly in their 50s, although one of their number is in his 70s.



Baritone Brown, who is a fisherman himself, said: "In Cornish pubs there is a tradition of singing and we just all got together with the intention of learning all the words instead of just knowing the first verse and the last verse and making up the bit in the middle."

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