My Saint Helena Island
Regional anthem of Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha
|Lyrics||Dave Mitchell, 1975|
|Music||Dave Mitchell, 1975|
My Saint Helena Island is the unofficial territorial anthem of Saint Helena. It was written by Dave Mitchell in 1975, after persuasion from the inhabitants of Saint Helena. As a British Overseas Territory the official anthem is "God Save the Queen".
Dave Mitchell, nicknamed “Old Saddlebags”, was a country & western disc jockey on AFN Volcano Radio on Ascension Island. He was introduced to Saints on Ascension by his friend Charlie Renn, and became involved with them, playing for parties all over the island. Renn suggested that Mitchell write a song for St. Helena. Mitchell was reluctant to do so, as he had never been to St Helena, so Renn, who had visited the island, promptly brought Mitchell some large colour postcards of the island. After sitting in his room for a night or two studying the postcards, Mitchell picked up his guitar and in a few minutes the song was written. It is, appropriately, a country song.
The song was an immediate hit with the Saints on Ascension. With the help of recording company Camaro Records, Mitchell made two 45-rpm records (four songs) in Memphis, Tennessee in 1975. He planned to make a trip to St. Helena to deliver the records in person, but this proved not to be possible, so he had to mail them instead. The reaction on St. Helena was as enthusiastic as that of the Saints on Ascension, and “My St. Helena Island” quickly became the de facto national song of St. Helena.
The lyrics are:
1: My heart is drifting southward / To my home down in the sea / It’s the isle of St. Helena / Where my loved ones wait for me / Long since I left it / But I’ll soon be going home / To my St. Helena island / And swear I’ll never roam
2: Diamonds they are pretty / So is your fancy cars / But St. Helena island / Is prettier by far / All the wonders of this world / I’m told they number seven / But St. Helena Island / Is the nearest one to heaven
3: Diamonds they are pretty / So is your fancy cars / But St. Helena island / Is prettier by far / Someday if the Lord above / Comes out of heaven’s gate / I’m sure He’ll pick St. Helena / And use it as His place