Tom Callinan Programs

Tom Callinan

The Golden Age Of Whaling (Through 19th Century)

In the 1800's, New London, Connecticut was the third largest whaling port in
the United States.  Through participatory stories and songs, TOM CALLINAN
takes audiences of all ages on a voyage from the days of wooden ships and
iron men. Tom's powerful presentation of sea chanteys (work songs) is
punctuated by the primal sound of the bodhran (traditional Celtic frame drum).

Chanteys are taught, incorporating a student-operated prop capstan, to
raise a small anchor on-stage. Other student-volunteers raise and/or furl a
simulated sail via halyard and/or bunting chanteys. Participatory sea songs
employ choruses sung by mariners, past and present;  fo'c'stle ballads recall
those long ago days. Student volunteers join in with rhythm instruments like
spoons to get the feet tapping and the hands clapping.

In addition to his extensive repertoire of sea songs and chanteys, Tom is
equally adept at performing the folk music of Ireland, the British Isles,
Americana, and a wide variety of songs and tunes from many times and places. 
Many of these songs are related or roots to the songs the sailors and whalers
sang.  On the lighter side, his participatory songs reach out to audiences of
all ages, inviting everyone to join in with the performance.

Self-accompanied on a variety of string, wind, and percussion instruments,
Tom has performed throughout the eastern seaboard of the United States since
1977. In 1991 he was designated Connecticut's first "Official State
Troubadour" by legislative action.  In 1995 the Connecticut Commission on the
Arts named him to the roster of Master Teaching Artists. To date, Tom has
appeared on over a dozen albums which are heard on public radio stations
around the nation. He is available year-round for concerts, classroom
workshops, and/or teacher-training as a solo artist or with a number of
different ensembles.