Sea shanty tribute to Scotland’s midwives

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A unique sea shanty – paying tribute to Scotland’s midwives – has been released as part of a collaboration between a fast-rising Scottish singer and midwifery staff and students at University of the West of Scotland.

With Women tells the story of a mother giving birth, and the support, compassion and care she receives from midwives.

All proceeds raised from the single go towards the UWS Student Midwife Scholarship Fund.

The track was inspired by the postal-worker-turned-singing-sensation Nathan Evans, and his song Wellerman; a sea shanty which found global success after going viral on social media.

With Women was written by Jazz Dey, a BA Commercial Music student, who has enjoyed success on the Scottish music scene under the pseudonym, Modern Sonder.  

She said: “I first heard about the song from another commercial music student, Lorna Futter, who pitched the idea at one of our lectures. I immediately thought that I wanted to get involved with this project. 

“It was the midwifery staff who came up with the idea of it being a sea shanty actually, and it just so happened that this format worked really well as a way of expressing the thoughts and feelings of midwives and new mothers.

“A sea shanty often features a lead vocal, and what’s known as a gang vocal, which is provided by a group of people.

“In With Women, the lead vocal in the track is the mother, and the gang vocals come from the midwives, providing her support – so, in a sense, it tells two different stories. The sea shanty format worked incredibly well.”

Despite being a songwriter with experience of traditional Scottish music, Jazz had never written a sea shanty before. She added: “These days, I typically perform in the rock and pop genres, so it was a little bit of a challenge for me, to put myself into that world.

“I did a lot of research into the history of the sea shanty, and the role that women played in the history of the fishing industries in Scotland. Typically, it was men who would go out to sea, but women played a big role both while the men were offshore, and after they returned. They really were integral in the culture, which then developed this style of music.”

Lorna Futter, creative producer for the song, was delighted with the end result: “The initial brief came from midwifery staff, and I came up with the idea of getting midwives involved. Jazz has done an amazing job at putting together a powerful song, encapsulating the feelings felt as a baby is born.

“This was achieved in part thanks to inspiring meetings with midwifery staff and students – it was their stories that inspired Jazz’s lyrics.”

UWS Midwifery lecturer Sheona Brown said: “I’m absolutely delighted that we were able to work with Jazz and Lorna, who are musicians of the highest calibre. When I heard With Women for the first time, I was absolutely blown away.

“The reception to With Women has been overwhelmingly positive, and I’m so pleased that it is raising money for such a good cause.”

With Women is available to download for £1.00 and stream via Bandcamp:

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