Pick Montserrat’s national song! Go on, they can’t be trusted to themselves!

Montserratian carnival masks

Update: They’ve picked a song and it’s none of the ones I mention here! See this post.

What do you do if you’re a tiny Caribbean island still recovering from a volcanic eruption that made two-thirds of the country inaccessible? You get yourself a song, apparently.

This weekend, Montserrat will choose it’s first-ever national song – to be played every day on TV, sung in schools and make the island’s 5,000-odd people feel a bit prouder about their home.

The government’s put five shortlisted entries up on a Facebook page, including tunes written by the chief executive of the country’s bank and one of the island’s former governors. And – amazingly – some of them are really good.

The favourite seems to be Everton Weekes’ Montserrat Alliouagana, a slow-builder that starts with the less than inspiring line, “If you search for [Montserrrat] on the map, it’s much smaller than a dot.”

But the highlights are undoubtedly Joe Jackson’s Carib Isle, which sounds like classic ’50s calypso, and Oh Montserrat, by Kenneth Allen QC OBE (yes, he’s the chief executive).

Oh Montserrat’s easily the most poetic song on the shortlist, filled with so much longing for the island it’s like a dying man singing to his wife: “I promise you I’ll never leave, no matter whatever shall betide, until your shores become my Jordan and I’m called to the other side.”But it’s the song’s arrangement that really makes it stand out – acoustic soul straight out of Phil Spector’s book, especially the second, spoken-word verse that brings it to new heights of poignancy or ridiculousness depending on your viewpoint.

For some reason, Montserrat’s letting anyone vote for the tunes at this webpage, so do it now!

But one question: why didn’t they go for a tune by Montserrat’s most famous son, the mighty Arrow. I mean, who doesn’t like a bit of Hot, Hot, Hot?

One thought on “Pick Montserrat’s national song! Go on, they can’t be trusted to themselves!

  1. Pingback: The day I learned I have no influence in Montserrat | Republic or Death

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