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Johnny Collins, a native of the county of Norfolk but latterly based in London, England, was a well travelled performer specialising in the singing of shanties, sea songs and maritime ballads.
An internationally acclaimed performer and recording artist, Johnny has organised Folk clubs and topped the bill in concerts around the world since the mid-fifties: his vigorous style and his supreme ability to persuade audiences to join in choruses was unrivalled.
Johnny was a familiar and welcome figure at many of the world's foremost maritime venues and festivals, and has guested in the U.S.A. at Maine Maritime Museum, Kendall Whaling Museum and Newport News Maritime Museum. He has also delighted audiences with several concert appearances at Mystic Seaport (U.S.A.) and was resident shantyman at Expo '88 in Brisbane, Australia.
1983 was a highpoint in his singing career when, in partnership with Jim Mageean, he was a winner of the Intervision Song Contest in Rostock, GDR, with a medley of English sea shanties. In 1987, Johnny was invited by the government of the GDR to appear at the Berlin Shanty Festival which was organised to celebrate 750 years of that city.
Regular forays into Europe continued to be part of Johnny's yearly itinerary. He was a main guest at the annual Liereliet at the Strontrace in Workum, Netherlands for many years. He also sang regularly in Belgium, Brittany, Germany, Holland, Poland and France.
Nearer home, he was acclaimed as a shanty supremo at many of the Cutty Sark Tall Ships Race venues, including Southampton, Liverpool and Newcastle upon Tyne, as well as other U.K. maritime festivals at Hull, Lancaster, Bristol, Dundee, Maldon, Portsmouth, Gosport, Greenwich and Chatham.
Johnny Collins sadly passed away on 6th July 2009 whilst appearing at the Tall Ships Concerts in Gdansk, Poland.