Blogging from the Highlands of Scotland
'From fanaticism to barbarism is only one step' - Diderot

Friday 11 January 2008

Juries choose words for the Spanish National Anthem

(Please see UPDATE at end)

One of the curiosities of Spain is that there are no words in its national anthem. Apparently this has caused disquiet amongst people in situations where the anthem is played and they must stand there mute, whereas citizens from most other countries can yell out their own anthem's words at the top of their voices. This has been particularly evident at sporting events. Last year, therefore, the Spanish Olympic Committee (Comité Olímpico Español [COE]) and the Editors and Writers Society (Sociedad General de Autores y Editores [SGAE]) got together to organise a competition to choose suitable words for the anthem.

According to this report in local Murcian newspaper website the words will be as follows:

¡Viva España!
Cantemos todos juntos
con distinta voz
y un solo corazón

Ama a la Patria
pues sabe abrazar,
bajo su cielo azul,
pueblos en libertad

Viva España!
desde los verdes valles
al inmenso mar,
un himno de hermandad

Gloria a los hijos
que a la Historia dan
justicia y grandeza
democracia y paz

- it is expected to be sung for the first time at the annual gala of the COE on 21st January, when it will be performed by tenor Plácido Domingo. ThinkSpain has an unofficial translation into English:

Long live Spain!

Let's all sing together
with different voices
and just one heart.

Long live Spain!

From the green valleys
to the immense ocean,
a hymn and brotherhood.

Love the homeland
for it embraces
under a blue sky
villages at liberty.

Glory to the children
that Histroy gives
justice and greatness
democracy and peace.

If you're not familiar with the Spanish anthem or 'Spanish Royal March' (Marcha Real Española) you can listen to a realPlayer version of it on the Spanish Government official website here. I'll be very interested to hear how Plácido Domingo fits the words shown above to the tune.

UPDATE: (Tuesday 22JAN08 16.40 GMT) Well, if words are ever going to be chosen and accepted by most Spaniards for their national hymn, it seems it won't be these particular words; the COE has just announced that there is too much controversy surrounding them. The fact that the words are cringe-making is probably only a side-issue, given the quality of the words of many other national anthems. I posted an update to this story on my other 'casabill' blog on 16JAN08.

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