Island In The Sun

I have been singing this song all week. I have utterly no idea, because it has not exactly been sunny here in the UK!

Not minding the weather, I don’t sing this in the original style as seen in the video. It’s too slow for me, because I learnt this in the style of a calypso, back in my secondary school days. Too bad I didn’t have those drums to sing along with!

At university, one of the secretaries I knew was a Jamaican. She was super-impressed with the fact I knew this song, and told me about Harry Belafonte (1927 – present ), whom is singing in the video above in the film of the same name (1957). I have a neighbour who is also Jamaican, and whenever I see him, I greet him with this song.

Anything to bring joy.

For a relatively happy title, the song lyrics are a bit dark. Looking closely, they are about slavery and the singer, David Boyeur (played by Harry Belafonte) is speaking of how his people have toiled since “time began”. This character was a politician, who represented the common person, which threatened the white ruling class.¹ However, he still praises for the beautiful land he has been born into.

Oh island in the sun
Willed to me by my father’s hand
All my days I will sing in praise
Of your forest waters, your shining sand

As morning breaks, the Heaven on high
I lift my heavy load to the sky
Sun comes down with a burning glow
Mingles my sweat with the earth below

Oh island in the sun
Willed to me by my father’s hand
All my days I will sing in praise
Of your forest waters, your shining sand

I see woman on bended knee
Cutting cane for her family
I see man at the water-side
Casting nets at the surging tide

Oh island in the sun
Willed to me by my father’s hand
All my days I will sing in praise
Of your forest waters, your shining sand

I hope the day will never come
When I can’t awake to the sound of drum
Never let me miss carnival
With calypso songs philosophical

Oh island in the sun
Willed to me by my father’s hand
All my days I will sing in praise
Of your forest waters, your shining sand ²

While these lyrics may be deep, I still sing it when the sun is out. Although the UK is not a Caribbean island, it is an island and it is (sometimes) sunny!

So, now, off I go! “Oh, island in the sun, la la la…”

¹ Wikipedia, Island in the Sun, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Island_in_the_Sun_(film), [n.d], [accessed 23 July 2015]. 

² MetroLyrics, Island in The Sun, http://www.metrolyrics.com/island-in-the-sun-lyrics-harry-belafonte.html, 'The Real... Harry Belafonte' (Track 15), written by Irving Burgie and published by BMG RIGHTS MANAGEMENT US, LLC, Reservoir One Music, [1957], [accessed 23 July 2015].
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