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Shelter Island Library Friday Night Dialogues — Fisherfolk: Fishersongs

On Friday, May 19, at 7 p.m., the Shelter Island Public Library’s Friday Night Dialogues will present “Fisherfolk: Fishersongs —  Fishermen’s Work, Life and Hardships, as Told Through Historic and Contemporary Songs with Stephen Sanfilippo.”

In 2018, Stephen N. Sanfilippo, Ph.D., wrote a review of the book, “A Speck In the Sea,”

a gripping account of the search and rescue of lobsterman Johnny Aldridge after he flipped over the side of his boat 20 miles off Montauk in the middle of the night. The review appeared in “The Nautilus: A Maritime Journal of Literature, History and Culture,” published by the Humanities Department of Massachusetts Maritime Academy.

Subsequent requests to talk about the book soon melded with Mr. Sanfilippo’s lifetime of work performing songs of the maritime trades, resulting in his current presentation, Fisherfolk: Fishersongs.

For over 50 years, Mr. Sanfilippo has performed songs of eel spearers, clammers, oystermen, lobstermen and whalers, as well as revealing the hardships facing fishermen in the 21st century.

Now a retired Maine Maritime Academy professor, Mr. Sanfilippo says that one of his most memorable experiences on the water was teaching his students how to raise sail and work the windlass to the rhythm and tempo of 19th-century chanteys on the MMA’s sail training vessel, the historic Arctic schooner Bowdoin.

Mr. Sanfilippo plays several instruments, including guitar, banjo and concertina and encourages the audience to sing along.

Mark your calendar for this special event on Friday, May 19. Visit silibrary.org to register.