This is the question posed in the current issue of Coast Magazine, in an article entitled 'Songs of the Sea', based around the huge success of the Cornish shanty group Fisherman's Friends, who recently receved a gold disc for 100,000 album sales.
The article goes on to mention Jon Boden, the album Rogue's Gallery, and Norma Waterson. Strangely, Mersea's very own Shanty Night does not feature in the list of notable shanty festivals around the country. But, who knows, maybe next year . . .
(Mersea DOES in fact appear in this month's Coast - but not musically - there's an article about the Packing Shed as part of a series about endangered seaside buildings.)