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Arranged for Brass Quintet, The Montserrat National Song is "Motherland", written by J.A. George Irish and former acting Governor of Montserrat, Sir Howard A. Fergus. "Motherland" was officially passed into law by the Legislative Assembly of Montserrat as the Territorial Song of Montserrat in 2014, after an extensive public search for a national song through open participation by Montserratians at home and abroad.
The composers are: J A George Irish (music) and Howard A. Fergus (lyrics), the first two recipients of the island's historic national award of the Order of Excellence, the highest honor granted to living citizens for their distinguished careers in education and community leadership.The official rendition submitted to the government for its archives and public usage is performed by international artist, Ayanna Irish.
The original version of this song was written as an unofficial "nationalist anthem" entitled, "Oh Emerald Isle" to express a nascent cultural pride that emerged in the early 1970s as part of an educational and cultural revival in Montserrat under the leadership of the young academic, Dr. J. A. George Irish, in his role as the academic and administrative Head of the newly established local Extra-Mural Branch of the University of the West Indies.
The Montserrat University Center became the dynamic hub of a wide range of cultural activities involving educators and artists like: Howard Fergus, Edith Bellot and Joy Nanton in History and/or music; Vincent B. Browne, David Edgecombe, John Stanley Weekes, Dorcas White and Anita Ince in theater and folklore; Mary Griffin and Midge Kocen in theater arts; W. "Willie Kinnie" O'Garro and Jewelline Roberts in dance; Clifford Tuitt and Carol Tuitt in costume arts; Charles Jackie Dangler, Desmond "Flasher" Daley and "Out-of-port" Aymer in steelpan music; Samuel "Black Sam" Aymer, Donald Douglas, George Allen, George Harper, Joseph Jackman, Reginald Ryan, James Frederick, Eric Fergus and his parents Steamer and Molly Fergus and John White in folk music.
This cultural renaissance was centered on the Emerald Community Singers, Montserrat Theater Group, Alliouagana Dancers, Alliouagana Drummers, Alliouagana Arts Festival, the regional Carifesta movement, Montserrat Secondary School Choir, local church choirs, Heavenly Organs Steel Orchestra, and other local folk groups.