Anthem for Jersey: Music, Media and Politics in an Island Setting

Henry Johnson


In 2007, Jersey’s government launched a competition in search for an anthem to celebrate the island’s identity. Even though the island uses ‘God Save the Queen’ as its official anthem because of its allegiance to the British Crown, there are increasingly more occasions for the island to have its own anthem, such as at the Island Games or the Commonwealth Games when island athletes compete against other jurisdictions that might also use ‘God Save the Queen’. Two other songs, ‘Ma Normandie’ (‘My Normandy’) and ‘Beautiful Jersey’  (‘Man Bieau P’tit Jèrri’), have sometimes been used at times of celebration, but in recent years there has been increased discussion regarding the place of these songs because neither was originally composed as an official anthem for Jersey. Over the past few decades, Jersey has re-thought internal cultural policy towards island identity, which has been part of a process of increased reflection on the island’s heritage as well as its place in the wider world. This article helps show how Jersey is rethinking identity through several spheres: media, political and cultural. By studying the process of finding its own anthem, the politics of local identity construction are highlighted and provide examples that help explain why a unique anthem is needed in the present-day, and how the island is represented and has responded through song as a result of the competition.

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