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Saturday, April 13, 2024

Saturday Music Post - Santiano

It's been a while since we've had a sea shanty, and this one -- also known as "Santiana," "Santy Anna," "The Plains of Mexico," and other variations -- is especially rousing. The older version, which dates to the 1850s or earlier, seems to commemorate a victory of Mexican General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna over U.S. forces in the Mexican-American War on the "plains of Mexico," which is something that did not actually happen. One theory is that it was sung by British deserters from the Royal Navy who had joined the Mexicans resisting U.S. aggression. A later version completely changed the lyrics, making no mention of Mexico and referring instead to a voyage "around Cape Horn" to California. Yet other versions changed the lyrics completely.

Did I mention that it is especially rousing? I've found renditions in French, German, and Polish, which says something about the appeal of the melody. And there is a true surprise at the bottom of today's post, which is at The Faculty Lounge.

Posted by Steve Lubet on April 13, 2024 at 05:49 AM | Permalink


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