The Missouri River is the longest river in the USA, flowing some 2,340 miles from the Rocky Mountains to join the Mississippi River north of St.Louis. The origins of the song are obscure, dating to the early 19th century when beaver fur traders were active on the Missouri. Reportedly the lyrics refer to a fur trader who fell in love with Shenandoah, the daughter of the Chief of the Oneida Iroquois Indians.
There are many versions of the song. We use a version written by Jack Hindmarsh in 1986 for the Malvern Choir. We can’t find a recording of Hindmarsh’s version. Here is a version by Chanticleer, a choir founded in San Francisco in 1978, Chanticleer is known around the world as “an orchestra of voices” for the seamless blend of its twelve male voices ranging from countertenor to bass and its original interpretations of vocal literature, from Renaissance to jazz, and from gospel to venturesome new music.