17th century pirate song rediscovered


This October 2009 music video from Dokkum town in Friesland province in the Netherlands is about the local shanty choir De Admiraliteitssjongers (the Admiralty Singers, in the Frisian language). They sing the song Bloody Mary. Which is not about the alcoholic drink of that name. Also not about the English Queen Mary I, nicknamed Bloody Mary for her bloody persecution of Protestants.

The song is about a female pirate captain, who died by drowning. It is a Dutch 1969 song.

Now, a much older song about pirates has been rediscovered.

Translated from Frisian regional broadcaster Omrop Fryslân:

Dokkum 1630 pirate song recovered in London

19 July 2017 – 16:03

A Dokkum pirate song from 1630 has been found again in the British Library via the National Library of Songs of the [Amsterdam] Meertens Institute. The historical text has been found by maritime historian Nykle Dykstra of the historic association Northeast Fryslân. The song is about arresting a Dunkirk privateer crew during the 80 year war.

War of the Dutch republic to become independent of the Spanish monarchy. The Dutch republic regarded the Dunkirk privateers, who were on the Spanish side, as pirates.

The privateers sailed across the Wadden Sea while they robbed until they were arrested by a strategem by two Dokkum captains. Five of the pirates were later hanged in Dokkum.

The song – with customized text and a new melody – is now rehearsed by shanty choir De Admiraliteitssjongers. They will sing it for the first time during the Admiralty Days on September 9th. The organization of the Admiralty Days is so enthusiastic about the discovery that it is already referred to as the Admiralty Song. Nykle Dykstra enjoys the warm welcome to the pirate song. The song deserves that too, because it tells an important historical story. The new version of the song follows as much as possible the original text. The song was made a bit faster, because in the 17th century it was still song on the melody of a psalm.

De Admiraliteitssjongers rehearsing the newly rediscovered song

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