For a long time, Spain’s national anthem has been without words. The original set of lyrics, deemed excessively militaristic and overshadowed by General Franco’s fascist dictatorship, were laid to rest more than 30 years ago. Since then, the anthem has been hummed or laahed, which is what drove the Spanish Olympic Committee (COE – no relation to Seb, so far as I know) to launch the contest for new lyrics.
Apparently, the new words have caused some consternation… partly because the first line is ‘Viva España!’, not a phrase which goes down well with a significant proportion of the population.
I’m planning to obtain Spanish nationality sometime soon and I’m now worried that I’ll have to learn the new words. I can’t help but remember the schoolyard version I’ve heard sung by many Spanish and Catalan twenty-somethings:
“Franco, / Franco, / que tiene el culo blanco, / porque su mujer / lo lava con Ariel” – I hope I don’t lose points for singing that version. I’d rather they left it without lyrics – I always thought there was rather more nobility and style to standing still and quiet than to reciting some dull hymn. That said, Els Segadors (Catalonia’s national anthem) is replete with incitement to violent uprising and is actually rather stirring.
Anyway, there’s a video on El País which gauges Madrileño opinion to the new words.
Update: Here are the lyrics in English (nicked from the Guardian, so they may not be 100% kosher)
Long live Spain!
We sing together
With different voices
And only one heart
Long live Spain!
From the green valleys
To the immense sea
A hymn of brotherhood
Love the Fatherland
Which knows how to embrace
Below the blue sky
People in freedom
Glory to the sons
Who have given to history
Justice and greatness
Democracy and peace
By the way, a lot of people seem to come to this page looking for the lyrics to the Barça anthem… so here they are:
Tot el camp, és un clam
som la gent blaugrana, Tant se val d’on venim
si del sud o del nord
ara estem d’acord, ara estem d’acord,
una bandera ens agermana.
Blaugrana al vent, un crit valent
tenim un nom, el sap tothom:
Barça , Barça, Barça!
Jugadors, seguidors, tots units fem força.
Son molt anys plens d’afanys,
son molts gols que hem cridat
i s’ha demostrat, i s’ha demostrat,
que mai ningu no ens podrà torcer
Blau-grana al vent, un crit valent
tenim un nom, el sap tothom
Barça, Barça, Barça!