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Santiana

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Santiana

Hugill tells us that Santiana started life as a pumping shanty, but was later more widely used at capstans, and was a particular favourite with whalers. It seems to have more variations than almost any other shanty: Hugill gives three completely different sets of words and three tunes and says that any tune could be paired with any lyrics. As for choruses, he offers six separate first refrains and no less than ten second refrains - then tells us that the first and second refrains could be sung in reverse order if desired.

Most versions heard today tell the story of Santiana's exploits in Mexico's war against the United States in the 1840s - but shantymen's versions of history are not necessarily accurate. Many sang that Santiana defeated General Taylor, while others report (truthfully) that Taylor was the victor. In other versions (such as the one here) he becomes a mythical hero in a (con-)fusion with Stormy/Stormalong, but if it is doubtful if he ever saw Cape Horn.

Roud Number 207
Click to play MIDI file
Santiana
Santiana

O! Santianna's men were brave,

Away, Santianna!

And many found a hero's grave.

All across the plains of Mexico!


And its heave her up, and away we'll go
Heave away, Santianna!
Heave her up, and away we'll go
All across  the plains of Mexico


Now Santianna's dead and gone,

Away, Santianna!

And all the fighting has moved on

All on the plains of Mexico!


We'll dig his grave with a silver spade,

Away, Santianna!

And mark the spot where he was laid.

All on the plains of Mexico


O! for Santianna now we mourn

Away Santianna!

We left him buried off Cape Horn.

All on the plains of Mexico!


Yes we buried him deep around Cape Horn.

Away Santianna!

And close to the spot where he was born

All on the plains of Mexico!


And its heave her up, and away we'll go
Heave away, Santianna!
Heave her up, and away we'll go
All across  the plains of Mexico


Antonio López de Santa Anna

Recorded by Nelson's Blood
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Santiana, sung by Nelson's Blood
Santiana ran away

Antonio López de Santa Anna (1794-1876) was a Mexican soldier and politician, well-known for his fickleness and corruption, as much as for miltary and political skills.

For the first ten years of his military career
Antonio de Padua María Severino López de Santa Anna y Pérez de Lebrón (to give him his full name) served in the colonial Spanish Army which was engaged in suppressing the Mexican independence movement. But in 1821Captain Santa Anna switched sides, drove the Spaniards out of Veracruz (19.1987,-96.1352), and was promoted to General.


Mexican politics were quite turbulent, and Santa Anna had no difficulties in switching sides to fight for the winning side, (and make a financial killing on the side). He took a growing interest in political matters, and between 1833 and 1855 was President on no less than eleven occasions: most of these were extremely brief - two lasting under a month each and another two less than eight weeks. His final period of 841 days in office was only a month short of the next three longest combined!

Throughout his life he was a rabid gambler and cockfighter, spending thousands on prize cocks, and entertaining breeders from all over the world. This was often financed by corruption, funneling government money into his own pockets.

Meanwhile he also continued his military career, losing a leg against invading French forces in 1838. The leg was buried with full military honours, and he had a cork leg made for him. During the 1846 Mexican-American War the leg was captured by US forces. Despite repeated Mexican pleas for its return, it is still in the State Military Museum in Springfield, Illinois (39.8164,-89.6687).

Perhaps the shanty sould say "Santiana hopped away!!"

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