Great Big Sea is a Canadian folk-rock band from Newfoundland and best known for performing energetic rock interpretations of traditional Newfoundland folk songs including sea shanties, which draw from the island's 500-year-old Irish, English, and French heritage. The band also performs original material. The founding band members included Alan Doyle, Séan McCann, Darrell Power, and Bob Hallett. Supporting members of the band include Canadian freelance drummer Kris MacFarlane and Murray Foster.
The band played its first official gig on March 11, 1993, opening for the Irish Descendants at Memorial University of Newfoundland in St. John's, Newfoundland. The band won the Entertainer of the Year award at the East Coast Music Awards for every year between 1996 and 2000 and have been nominated for several Juno Awards, including Group of the Year in 1998, 2005, 2009, and 2011.
Great Big Sea's first concert DVD and videos collection, the Great Big DVD, saw release in Canada and the United States in 2003 and Europe in 2004. In late 2005, the band released its long-awaited "traditional" album, The Hard and the Easy, on which they recorded their favourite Newfoundland party songs. The title of the album comes from a line of the song "Tickle Cove Pond", one of two songs on the album about a horse falling through ice. Also in late 2005, Great Big Sea released its first podcast, with clips of the band bantering back and forth in the studio mixed with various songs by them and other artists.
In 2006, the band released their second concert DVD, Courage & Patience & Grit, recorded in Belleville, Ontario. In 2008, the band released Fortune's Favour and in 2010, they released their new album Safe Upon the Shore. "Nothing But A Song" is the first single off the bands' ninth studio recording, with a subsequent tour kicking off at the end of the summer 2010. The Canadian television series Republic of Doyle uses Great Big Sea's "Oh Yeah" as its theme song.