National Anthems on E2:
(an Everything-wide metanoding project)


Editor's note: We would prefer them noded under the actual name, not under "XYZ National Anthem".


Africa:
Central African Republic - La Renaissance
Chad - La Tchadienne
Ghana - Hail the Name of Ghana
Libya - Allahu Akbar
Mali - Hymne National Malien
South Africa (during National Party rule/Apartheid) - Die Stem van Suid Afrika
South Africa - Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika
Swaziland - Ingoma Yesive

Americas:
Bahamas - March On, Bahamaland!
Brazil - Hino Nacional Do Brasil
Canada - O Canada
Cuba - La Bayamesa
Dominican Republic - Quisqueyanos Valientes
Ecuador - Salve, O Patria
Haiti - La Dessalinienne
Mexico - Himno Nacional Mexicano
Panama - Himno Istmeño
Paraguay - Himno Nacional de la República de Paraguay
USA - The Star-Spangled Banner
Venezuela - Gloria al Bravo Pueblo

Asia:
People's Republic of China - Chinese National Anthem
Israel - Hatikva
Japan - Kimigayo
Philippines - Philippine National Anthem
Saudi Arabia - An-Nashid Al-Watani

Europe:
Albania - Hymni Kombëtar
Armenia - Armenian National Anthem
Austria - Land Der Berge, Land Der Strome
Croatia - Lijepa Nasa
Finland - Maamme ("Our Land")
France - La Marseillaise
Germany - Das Lied der Deutschen
East Germany (GDR)- Auferstanden aus Ruinen
Iceland - Ó, Guð vors lands
Rep. of Ireland - Amhrán na bhFiann
The Netherlands - Wilhelmus
The Isle of Mann - Ellan Vannin
Norway - Ja, vi elsker dette landet
Poland - Mazurek Dabrowskiego
Portugal - A Portuguésa
Russian Federation (1991-present day)- Russian National Anthem
Sweden - Du gamla, du fria
United Kingdom - God Save The Queen
USSR (from 1917-1944) - The Internationale
USSR (from 1977-1991) - Hymn of the Soviet Union

Oceania:
Australia - Advance Australia Fair
New Zealand - God Defend New Zealand
Kiribati - Teirake Kaini Kiribati
Vanuatu - Yumi, Yumi, Yumi

Help me add more to the list. Let the world sing!

A Treatise on the Dreadful State of some National Songs

I am not alone in considering many national anthems to be pretty dire. I'm English, and as England is a member of Great Britain, our National Anthem is God Save The Queen (henceforth referred to as "GSTQ"), a dirge of truly staggering proportions. I have many reasons for disliking the song - firstly, I'm a republican (small "r") who believes that a constitutional monarchy is an outdated and irrelevant way of doing political business, and I do not believe in god in the traditional sense of the word, being more yer Taoist-Pagan-Buddhist sort of fellow. In addition, it's not a great tune, and the words are not in any way stirring to me. "Send her victorious"? No, it does nothing for my limited patriotism, and when sung at sporting events, I'd find myself somewhat embarrassed.

The fact is that England does not have its own national song. The Scots do - Flower of Scotland is sung at sporting fixtures for them. Wales has Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau, known in English as "Land Of My Fathers". Some years ago, there was a poll asking English people what they wanted sung, and the resounding response was in favour of Jerusalem and indeed this is played for the English team coming to the field. At English rugby matches, you may well hear "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot" sung, but that's just rugger buggers being weird.

Billy Connolly once suggested the theme song from The Archers, on the basis that it was not only a nice bouncy tune, but that everyone knew the words. Admittedly, he's also angry that one verse of GSTQ speaks of "...rebellious Scots to crush". But he does have a point; it's a dreary tune. "Dum-da-dum-di-dum-de-dum, La-la-lah-lah-la-lah-lah. Dum-da-dum-de-dum-da-dum, dum-ti-tiddly-dum." Brilliant. See the video.

Myself, I like the hymn Jerusalem, it's all about England, it makes no bones about the "dark, satanic mills", and even though it's ostensibly about Jesus coming to our sainted land, I can deal with that. William Blake, who wrote the words, was something of a sympathiser of the British Israelites, no doubt. Hubert Parry wrote the tune, and a bloody good job he did of it. Brass bands do a fine job of raising the rafters with it, and it has a good, round sound.

If ever I get a time machine, I am going to travel back and defenestrate whoever is responsible for GSTQ, I swear.

Other National Dreadfulness

I can't say much for the Star-Spangled Banner, either. Apart from it being about blowing up the British with rockets, it's about a bloody flag. I can almost hear John Cleese calling out "...A FLAG?" when I say this. Where's the stuff about how great the country is? Where's the bit about the beauty of the rolling plains, the grandeur of The Rockies? "America The Beautiful" is a much better song.

The US anthem is also over-sung. I cringe when I hear "pop" singers mangle it with their warbles and trills. JUST SING THE BLOODY SONG. There, I said it. Mediocre as the tune is, don't embellish it. You are not gilding the lily, you are tearing it apart, petal by petal.¹

If the US anthem is poor, the French is worse. La Marseillaise was written after one of their Revolutions, and is full of that patriotic zeal. I always imagine the translation of the first verse to be more like this:

Arise, children of the Fatherland, the day of glory is at hand.
Against us the blood-stained banner of tyranny is raised,
Hear, in the fields, the roar of her fierce soldiers.
They come right in to our arms, to slaughter our sons and companions.
Kill them before they kill you, until the streets run red with their blood!

But the English have a thing about the French, but that subtext is quite clear. After all, this is the country whose citizens were burning British lorries full of live lambs back in the 1970s, the country who came to the aid of the rebellious Yankees, and who tried to stop us taking over their country when that great Welshman, Henry V, went over there to civilise them. They have given us some rather nice cheese though, so I suppose it's time I buried the hatchet.

Speaking of burying things, it's time to put to rest the idea that the German anthem, Das Lied der Deutschen is overly nationalistic and promotes German domination of the whole world. "Deutschland, Deutschland über alles" does not mean they want to be overlords, but rather (as mawa said), "...first and foremost". I have no problem with the Germans. Hard-working beer drinkers who love a rousing tune. I say we keep this one.

Speaking of hard work, here's one that suits me well: The Internationale. Anthem of the Communists, and many modern countries, it salutes the workers and encourages them to Better Things.

Arise ye workers from your slumbers
Arise ye prisoners of want
For reason in revolt now thunders
And at last ends the age of cant.
Away with all your superstitions
Servile masses arise, arise.

Superb. It's a shame that every Communist revolution did the overthrowing of the overlords bit fairly well, but never got quite as far as the revolution of the proletariat. The intellectuals and military types clearly decided they liked the power, and stayed to become the new overlords. Ah, well, c'est la guerre.

Speaking of Communists, a quick word about The Red Flag. Not a national anthem, but the unofficial anthem of the British Labour Party for many years. Ah, those were the days, when we had a socialist alternative to offer. Tony Blair was a bloody Tory.

I could go on to describe Australia's Advance, Australia Fair, written to replace GSTQ, and truly describing that country as young and free. But it does go on a bit, fails to rouse the spirit and is again, badly sung at the best of times. Stick to Waltzing Matilda, people. Thanks for the reminder, JD.

At this point, I'm obliged to say that it was never my intent to cover every national song. I've had to content myself with those I've sung or heard often enough to have any views on, no matter how chauvinistic, and my opinion of the songs may not reflect my opinion of that country. As I prepare to apply for US citizenship, I'd better get used to singing a new anthem with some gusto.

But of course, these songs get into a national spirit, and short of more revolution, are bound to stay with us. It's up to us to memorise the words, sing up and well, and throw rotten fruit at those who don't. Long live {my country}, wherever it may be.




¹ I'd originally said "you are polishing a turd". Okay, that was a little harsh. The tune is fairly decent by most standards.

Log in or registerto write something here or to contact authors.