B2 · songs

The Sailorman’s Hymn

This beautiful, although extremely sad ballad by Kamelot, tells the story of a woman hopefully waiting for her lover who may have died at sea in a shipwreck. Although she feels lost and lonely, she never loses hope and lights a candle every night to guide him back home to her. Why the man went away, is not clear in the lyrics, but the reference to the ‘resounding sirens’ bring to mind something that at first  looked tempting, but finally had a tragic outcome.

The song may also be a romantic reference to smuggling, which during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, was very common in the British Isles as many were those that at night, risked their lives in an attempt to earn a living.

Anyway, whatever the ballad is about, Kamelot’s vocalist, Roy Khan,  has such  a wonderful voice that I want to share it with you, so as to bring to mind a bard-like story of  remote Ireland.

I hope you enjoy the song.

Grammar · Listening · songs

If I were a Boy

Listening to Beyoncé’s song ‘ If I were a boy’ not only is a nice way to introduce conditionals, but also invites one to think about what the person is trying to say when she finally says ‘but you’re just a boy’.

For this listening I would suggest trying to make a list of all the things the person would do if she were a boy and after, try to make out her reasons for saying this.

Listening · songs

Henry VIII and his six wives

Divorced, beheaded and died. Divorced, beheaded and survived…

Henry VIII is one of the most famous kings in English history. He was most famous for his six wives and for having caused a breach with the Church of Rome.

This is a famous song about his six wives that talks about what happened to each one of them. The song is quite humorous even though, I agree on the fact that none of Henry’s six wives may have found the song particularly amusing.

Here’s a link to the song by Horrible Histories and if you are interested in learning some British history, I have also included a link from the BBC website.

Click for song

Click for history



A2 · B1 · Listening · songs

Listening to ‘Hey Brother’ by Avicii

A2  Hey Brother by Avicii

I love this song  because it talks about the special bond that exists between brothers and sisters. Although I must say that I always find it very hard to watch the video because it makes me quite sad. Even so,I think it’s a great song where you can learn conditional structures and expressions related to daily life problems and relationships.

Listen to the song, and see how many correct answers you get.

Click for activity

songs · Vocabulary

I can’t stand losing you by The Police

Learning English with songs

One of Brits 80’s most well-known rock bands, The Police, wrote this song about a very young couple breaking up. The  group explored this issue not without some sense of humour, talking about things like, a big brother threatening his sister’s boyfriend or the girl ruining his records.

The song  has also a lot of interesting expressions and phrasal verbs. To do the activity, four lines of the song have been removed and jumbled. First try to understand the meaning of the four lines and after, try to find out when Sting (lead vocals) says them. (see handout)