This article by Rory Sinclair appeared in the Autumn 1998 issue (Vol 3 No
13) of Roslin O Roslin, following the 600th anniversary celebrations in
Guysborough of Prince Henry's visit to Nova Scotia.
Almost exactly on schedule (accidentally), Scottish-born singer-songwriter
followed up the success of his debut CD "100 Camels" with a brand new CD,
the title song of which is called Prince
Henry Sinclair, a song he co—wrote with Kristi Magraw.
David had read Pohl's book¹ several years ago and had pondered on how to
translate this remarkable story into music. The result is a stunning achievement
both musically and lyrically. Bag o' Hammers sang the song at the Guysborough
Concert but David's final version is brilliant. In addition, Rory Sinclair's
original pipe tune "In
the New World" is used on the CD to open the Prince Henry song....
Here are the lyrics:
Trusting the wind and the water
Prince Henry crossed the sea
90 years before Columbus
He made his own discovery
He reached the shore of an unknown land
Far from his Orkney home
Facing danger on foreign soil
It was in his blood to roam (you know)
You don't need a map or a compass
To help you find a new world
When you set out, like Prince Henry Sinclair
It's the passion that drives you there
He came to learn not to conquer
He lived in peace with Mi'kmaq neighbours
A man beyond his time
Now his memory haunts Nova Scotia
on the lips of the old and young
Carved in stone sealed in song
His legend's just begun (you know)
As we set sail on the ship of our dreams
We'll remember Prince Henry and what courage
means ..... from the heart
A footnote: When David sent Niven² a copy of the early version, Niven wrote back
to say that there was no mystery as to why David would write a song about Prince
Henry for, in 1391 in Kirkwall, Thomas de Laysk was a primary signatory to the
division of lands between Henry and his brother David. This indicated that Henry
and Thomas were best friends and Niven adds that he has always thought that
Thomas was on "The Voyage".
to listen to David Leask singing the Prince Henry song, also called In the Blood
(copyright Kristi Magraw and David Leask).
¹Prince Henry Sinclair: his expedition to the New World in 1398,
by historian and researcher Frederick Julius Pohl (b.1889) - who is not to be
confused with science fiction author Frederick Pohl (b. 1919). For more
interesting information, click here.
²Niven is, of course, UK clansman Niven Sinclair, author
of other articles available here:
For more about David Leask, visit his website at www.DavidLeask.com; Leask also
tells this story in the introduction to his song
© Clan Sinclair Association Canada.
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