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Sounds of St Helena

Hear the island

Play it once, Sam, for old times’ sake. Play ‘As Time Goes By’{1}{d}

There are plenty of opportunities on Saint Helena Island Info to see St Helena; here are some to hear it

Sounds of St Helena

This page features recordings of ambient sounds - things just happening - for you to play to give an audio flavour of daily life on St Helena{2}. Most of these sounds also appear on the page where they are relevant, as indicated. A great many other more formal recordings - speeches, radio broadcasts, etc. - also appear on this site; see our page Audio Index for a list of them all.

Contemporary Sounds

Most of the sounds below were recorded for Saint Helena Island Info by Burgh House Media crest @@E@@Burgh House Media Productions from 2019 to 2023.

Below: PeopleNatureStructuresMusic







In some cases we use the term ‘music’ rather loosely…


Other Sounds

These are sundry older recordings of ambient sounds that, like the ones above, conjure up an audio ‘picture’ of St Helena…


‘The Big Easy’ 2004-2021


Formed in 2004 and in its 17-year career having more lineups than Fleetwood Mack, The Big Easy rock band was undoubtedly one of the Sounds of St Helena.

The band played its first gig on Friday 3rd September 2004, performing at The Standard in Jamestown, then operated by bassist and band founder Johnny Dillon’s family. As the St Helena Herald reported: While the evening began in rather subdued fashion with just the occasional murmur of audible appreciation from the audience, by the end of the band’s marathon 4-hour performance, the audience just couldn’t get enough of the Big Easy - an extremely convincing and thoroughly uplifting performance.

Initial lineup was Johnny Dillon, who led the band and played bass guitar (the only constant throughout its life); Stuart Leo on drums; Amon Bennett on keyboards; Wayne Yon on lead guitar; and Paul Crowie delivering the vocals. Their next big gig was on Boxing Day that year, an event that was recorded for broadcast on Local Radio; one of the tracks can be heard (right). Shortly afterwards they played for the Saint Aid event, to raise money for the victims of the 2004/5 Asian Tsunami.

The Big Easy are to be congratulated on the music they produced - the results were absolutely fantastic.{j}

Now established as ‘St Helena’s Rock Band’ they were a must-have for all events featuring live music, always headlining, though not all of their events were a complete success:

To suit local taste they sometimes played tracks verging on Country Music (Credence Clearwater Revival and Lynyrd Skynyrd, for example), but their base was always rock, covering tracks by inter alia Pink Floyd, Deep Purple, Guns ‘N’ Roses, Creed, The Rolling Stones, Queen, Tom Petty and Eric Clapton.

The band’s lineup was constantly changing as band members (like so many younger Saints) had to move overseas for work or retired for other reasons. Over the years there were many guest singers and the instrumentation varied widely, including at times a saxophone and even a trombone. Only founder and bassist Johnny Dillon was a constant and the band continued until his untimely death in August 2021 aged only 59 years.

You can hear three tracks (right), the first recorded in 2004 with the original lineup and the others in 2009 and 2016{4}.

The Big Easy band were live and in full effect, playing a brilliant set of old favourites, classics and some bang-up-to-date hits. So many people remarked on the ‘CD-like quality’ of their playing. Special mention must go to vocalists Merle Peters, Anna Henry, Suzie Gal (Samantha Arms-Lawrence) and Dion Yon. Also special mention to a young, but extremely talented guitarist, Michael Williams. A great night out that really showcased the island’s musical talent. Encore!{k}


{a} Copyright © South Atlantic Media Services Ltd. (SAMS), used with permission.{b} Government of St Helena{c} The Independent{d} Ilsa Lund, character in the film Casablanca{e} recorded by the editor of this website from his home in Napoleon Street{f} Copyright © 1962 Film Unit, used with permission{g} Radio St Helena/Museum of St Helena, digitised by Burgh House Media Productions{h} St Helena National Trust{i} Recorded by Tony Leo{j} Event organiser, 2010{k} Editorial in the St Helena Herald, November 2010


{1} Usually (but incorrectly) rendered as Play it again, Sam.{2} Cynics please note: we did actually record these sounds in the places indicated. No sound-effect files were used!{3} The thumping sounds are larger objects being washed down by the force of the water.{4} And, for your enjoyment, these are presented in moderate-quality stereo.