(Lyrics at the bottom of the page)

A unique sea shanty – paying tribute to Scotland’s midwives – has been released as part of a collaboration between a fast-rising Scottish singer and midwifery staff and students at University of the West of Scotland (UWS).

With Women tells the story of a mother giving birth, and the support, compassion and care she receives from midwives.

All proceeds raised from the single go towards the UWS Student Midwife Scholarship Fund.

The track was inspired by the postal-worker-turned-singing-sensation Nathan Evans, and his song Wellerman; a sea shanty which found global success after going viral on social media.

With Women was written by Jazz Dey, a BA Commercial Music student, who has enjoyed success on the Scottish music scene under the pseudonym, Modern Sonder.

She said: “I first heard about the song from another commercial music student, Lorna Futter, who pitched the idea at one of our lectures. I immediately thought that I wanted to get involved with this project.

“It was the midwifery staff who came up with the idea of it being a sea shanty actually, and it just so happened that this format worked really well as a way of expressing the thoughts and feelings of midwives and new mothers.

“A sea shanty often features a lead vocal, and what’s known as a gang vocal, which is provided by a group of people.

“In With Women, the lead vocal in the track is the mother, and the gang vocals come from the midwives, providing her support – so, in a sense, it tells two different stories. The sea shanty format worked incredibly well.”

Despite being a songwriter with experience of traditional Scottish music, Jazz had never written a sea shanty before. She added: “These days, I typically perform in the rock and pop genres, so it was a little bit of a challenge for me, to put myself into that world.

“I did a lot of research into the history of the sea shanty, and the role that women played in the history of the fishing industries in Scotland. Typically, it was men who would go out to sea, but women played a big role both while the men were offshore, and after they returned. They really were integral in the culture, which then developed this style of music.”

Lorna Futter, creative producer for the song, was delighted with the end result: “The initial brief came from midwifery staff, and I came up with the idea of getting midwives involved. Jazz has done an amazing job at putting together a powerful song, encapsulating the feelings felt as a baby is born.

“This was achieved in part thanks to inspiring meetings with midwifery staff and students – it was their stories that inspired Jazz’s lyrics.”

UWS Midwifery lecturer Sheona Brown said: “I’m absolutely delighted that we were able to work with Jazz and Lorna, who are musicians of the highest calibre. When I heard With Women for the first time, I was absolutely blown away.

“The reception to With Women has been overwhelmingly positive, and I’m so pleased that it is raising money for such a good cause.”

With Women is available to download and stream via Bandcamp: www.modernsonderxuwsmidwives.bandcamp.com/releases.

Main photo: Jazz Dey aka Modern Sonder


When the water breaks and falls
Aroon’ my aching feet,
I can feel my baby callin’
But the call is nae sae sweet.
‘Cos I know it’s time to meet them
But I’m suddenly sae scared,
Then you come on in and calm me
Though I know I’m unprepared.

Push and pull, your body knows
Just what it needs to do.
We are here to keep you safe and
Set your sails for journeys new…

We made a plan and knew it well
Envisioned natal bliss.
But there’s risks and complications
So the plans have gone amiss.
And it isna whit I winted
But you tell me I’m OK.
And I know I’m in the safest hands
So trust in all you say.

Push and pull, your body knows
Just what it needs to do.
We are here to hold you steady
Setting sails for journeys new…

It’s agony in ebbs and flows
Push-pulling like the moon.
Oh the waitin’s so frustratin’
I jist wint it ower soon.
It’s harder breathin’ deeper
When there is nae shore in sight,
But you tell me that we’re almost there
I really hope you’re right.

Push and pull, your body knows
Just what it needs to do.
We are here to catch and carry
Setting sails for journeys new…

Now tides of pain rip through me
And am makin’ sic’ a scene,
Oh, I cana bear this onymare
Oh, God fit hiv I deen?
And I’m greeting for my mither
For my sweetheart is nae ease
And fan I need that comfort now
It’s you that gies me peace.

Push and pull your body knows
Just what it needs to do.
We are with you bearing witness.
Setting sails for journeys new.
And then I hear the cryin’…
And she’s in my airms at last…

I’m drowned in waves of oxytocin
Now I’m hame. The storm has passed.
And I’ll ne’er forget yer kindness,
Or your patience, or yer smile,
For in my deepest seas of darkness
You were with me a’ the while.

Push and pull your body knows
Just what it needs to do.
We will be with women always
We are on the journey too.

And we will pass the privilege on
Before our days are through.
We are with women always
Setting sails for journeys new.

Song written by Modern Sonder and UWS Midwives
Vocals by Modern Sonder
Guitars and production by Gloom is Okay