Michael, row your boat ashore
Then you'll here the trumpet blow
Then you'll hear the trumpet sound,
Trumpet sound the world around
Trumpet sound the jubilee
Trumpet sound for you and me
The oldest recorded lyrics include phrases like:
Michael’s boat is a gospel boat, Hallelujah!
Michael’s boat is a music boat. Hallelujah!
You can vary these with your child’s name. For example:
Mary’s boat is a sleeping boat…
Tommy’s boat is a crying boat…
Jonah’s boat is a dreaming boat…
Mommy’s boat is a singing boat…
Daddy’s boat is a praying boat…
Michael Row the Boat Ashore is an African American Spiritual first collected in the islands off South Carolina in the 1860’s during the American Civil War. William Francis Allen, editor of the first book of American slave songs (Slave Songs of the United States, 1867) heard it sung by freedmen in 1863 and reported that “Michael” is a reference to the Archangel Michael. In the 1960’s many folk singers created new lyrics and made this song part of the folk revival of that time.