Songs of the Sea

I have been singing most of these songs on and off since around 1962. Up until about 1970 this was as half of The Crofters, the Bristol based folk duo who performed regularly at folk clubs mainly in the West of England and on radio and TV. We both sang and I played mainly mandola, autoharp, banjo and recorder and my singing partner, Martin Pyman, played guitar. My singing career was put on hold for some 30 years after all my instruments fell out of the boot of my car and were squashed en route to a folk club booking when going up a 1 in 4 (25%) hill out of Waterley Bottom near Wottonunder-Edge in Gloucestershire. In those early years The Crofters recorded three EPs and two tracks from these are included here as bonus tracks on CD2.

I started performing again around 2000 but did not record again until 2015 when I recorded a double album on the theme of ‘love’. Being folk songs, the subjects were mostly false love, deceitful love, vengeful love and supernatural love (‘For Love Is Lord Of All’ Saydisc CDSDL439). Then in 2016, following a burst of poesy, I released a book and CD of 32 of my mostly recent poems on wildlife, history and some funny stuff. (‘South Moon Riding’ Saydisc CDSDL441).

All these recent recordings were made in my home studio in our cottage in the wilds of South Gloucestershire where we have lived since 1968. We are surrounded by four ancient commons and 700+ acres of ancient woodland. The surroundings have always been an inspiration for poems and songs and for retaining a close link with past values and traditions. Gef Lucena, 2016

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A straightforward, unpretentious double CD of sea songs, Gef Lucena sings solo, and provides his own stringed accompaniment on 23 of the 25 tracks. The track list could almost be a ‘greatest hits’ of sea-faring folk compositions, and includes such classics as Three Score And Ten, The Grey Funnel Line, Ellan Vannin and Lord Franklin. Some whaling songs are thrown in, e.g., The Bonnie Ship The Diamond, Farewell To Tarwathie and Greenland Whale Fisheries. The only shanty is Across The Western Ocean. There is poignancy in two tracks of a different kind, dating from the 60s and Gef and Martin Pyman’s duo, The Crofters. Pill Ferry celebrates the little boat that used to cross the Avon, while The Ballad Of The Severn Bridge commemorates the bridge building. A detailed and finely presented 32 page booklet contains notes and lyrics for all the songs. A throwback to another time, Songs Of The Sea is a reminder of some excellent material. Sung plainly and simply, but with enthusiasm, the album can be a resource and inspiration for would-be singers, as well as an opportunity to hear again from a veteran folk stalwart.  Jim McCourt, The LivingTradition

This two compact disc set is a thunderstorm of British sailor songs that talk to us about issues as diverse as fishermen's life, whaling, naval disasters, and sinking ships. Gef Lucena interprets this repertoire solely accompanied by his own bouzouki and autoharp. The quality of the voice is delightfully traditional, authentic and unpretentious, especially apparent in the tracks that the musician sings acapella.........Traditional music and ethno-musicological research have a debt with this generation of performers who continue to keep alive this musical treasure. Neil Manel Frau-CortesSonograma Spain
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