An Extract from the Barbados National Anthem, Barbados Pocket Guide

The National Anthem of Barbados

If there is one piece of music that bonds Barbadians together both close and far it is our National Anthem. Played at all public events, the first notes bring a crowded noisy room to a deathly silence in a show of respect for this piece of music that represents where we have come from and where we are going.


Lyrics to the Barbados National Anthem


Words to the National Anthem, Barbados Pocket Guide

 In plenty and in time of need
When this fair land was young
Our brave forefathers sowed the seed
From which our pride is sprung,
A pride that makes no wanton boast
Of what it has withstood
That binds our hearts from coast to coast -
The pride of nationhood.

We loyal sons and daughters all
Do hereby make it known
These fields and hills beyond recall
Are now our very own.
We write our names on history's page
With expectations great,
Strict guardians of our heritage,
Firm craftsmen of our fate.

 The Lord has been the people's guide
For past three hundred years.
With him still on the people's side
We have no doubts or fears.
Upward and onward we shall go,
Inspired, exulting, free,
And greater will our nation grow
In strength and unity.


We loyal sons and daughters all
Do hereby make it known
These fields and hills beyond recall
Are now our very own.
We write our names on history's page
With expectations great,
Strict guardians of our heritage,
Firm craftsmen of our fate.


More on the National Anthem Of Barbados

Our National was adopted on the 30th November, 1966 the day of our independence. It's music was composed by the late C. Van Roland Edwards and rearranged in 1967 by Inspector Prince Cave of the Royal Barbados Police Force who had recently returned from a three-year band masters course at the Royal School of Music, Kneller Hall. He kept the original tune but gave the anthem a more sustained harmony. The lyrics to the Barbados National Anthem were written in 1966 by Mr. Irving Burgie who was a well established composer. A committee comprising of Mrs. Enid Lynch, Mr. Bruce St. John, Mr. Frank Collymore, Mr. George Lamming and Mr. John Fletcher were set up to review the entries in a competition.


Music Arrangement By: C. Van Roland Edwards

C Van Roland Edwards, Music Arranger of the Barbados National Anthem, Barbados Pocket Guide

Mr. Edwards was born in 1912 and while he had no formal training had been writing music from his school days as a pupil at the St. Peter's Church Boy's School. He became a member of the British Song Society in 1933 and was a keen composer. It should be noted that Mr. Edwards was partially blind at the time of writting the National Anthem of Barbados and was assisted by his daughters Nannette and Eullia who recorded his music for him to paper. After writing the music to the National Anthem he was awarded Bds$500.00 as a token of appreciation for his work. Mr. Edwards died on April 22, 1985.


Other notable compositions of Mr. Van Roalnad Edwards were a song written for the opening of the St. Elizabeth School in St. John, Barbados. The song "Welcome to Her Majesty the Queen Elizabeth II" was performed in the presence of the Queen during an official visit to the Barbados in February, 1966. Other memorable works included "The St. Andrew Murder," "The Goodman Song" and "The Federation Song."


Lyrics By: Irving Burgie

Irvine Burgie, Wrote the Lyrics to the Barbados National Anthem, Barbados Pocket GuideMr. Burgie who wrote the lyrics to the National Anthem of Barbados was born in Broklyn, New York in 1917. His mother, Viola Calendar Burgie, was a Barbadian and his father was American. He served in the US Army as a soldier in an all black battalion in the China-Burma India theater where he developed an interest in music and studying in general. After the war he returned to the U.S.A. and studied under the G.I. Bill where he graduated from the University of Southern California studying in 1949 after attending the University of Arizona and studied music at the Juilliard School in New York for five years.


While being an accomplished composer and performer who toured across the US under the name Lorde Burgess, Mr. Burgie admits that he preferred to take advantage of his later success in writing for top performers and using his earnings to travel the world.


Some of his other noted works include "Ballad for Bimshire" a broadway musical of Barbados produced in 1963 and opened on the 15th October of that same year in New York at the Mayfair theater. The show starred Ossie Davis, Frederick O'Neil, Christine Spencer & Jimmy Randolph.


Mr. Burgie is also credited with writing the title song to the 1957 classic movie "Island In The Sun" with Harry Belafonte and many other popular songs made famous by Belafonte including " Day-O," "Michael Row The Boat," "Yellow Bord," and "Que Bonita Bandera."He is credited with writing eight of the eleven songs on Mr. Belafontes #1 on the billboard charts album "Calypso." Although his fame and fortune have been made over songs relating to the Caribbean he will be the forst to admit that at the time of writing "Day-O" he had never been there. But drew on his experiences from growing up in West Indian neighbourhoods in South Brooklyn which made him understand the culture.


Many of his  songs can be found in a book published called the "Caribbean Song Book" which contains 59 songs and the National anthems of Nine Caribbean Countries. It was published in 1977 and is currently out of print. The book includes musical arrangement to many of the songs as well as drawings depicting the music.


Mr. Burgie who visited Barbados frequently created the Irving Burgie Literary Award for Excellence in Literary and Creative Arts for secondary school Barbadian children. In 1987 he received the Silver Crown of Merit from the Barbados Government and two years later was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Letters Degree from the University of the West Indies.


Rules To Use Of The Barbados National Anthem

Anytime the National Anthem is played all civilians present should stand at attention and the men should remove all headgear displaying bared heads. Uniformed personnel should respond accordingly to instructions.


On most occasions only one verse and the chorus is played. When the shortened version of the National Anthem is played, it must consist of the first twelve bars of the verse and the last four bars of the chorus.


The National Anthem should not be mimicked in verse or in song neither should it be played in any tempo other than that officially recognizes (eighty-eight crochets to the minute).


The tune should not be used for dance or for advertisements.


If more than one anthem is being played the Barbados Anthem should be played last.



When should the National Anthem be played in Barbados?

At the beginning of all public performances.


For the Monarch (members of the Royal family)


For a foreign Monarch, Head of State or member of a reigning foreign Imperial or Royal family.

For a salute at official ceremonial occasions during the arrival and departure of:
- For the Governor General.
- For Governor Generals of other independent Commonwealth Countries.
- For Governors of associated States
- For High Commissioners of Offices administering a Government of a dependent
- Territory within the Commonwealth Countries

The Anthem can be played at the end of public functions and at toasts during official functions.


Music Sheet to Barbados National Anthem

National Anthem Music Sheet_Barbados Pocket Guide


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