Friday, June 12, 2009

The Hymn of the Federation

National anthems are an interesting phenomenon. You can come to understand a lot about a nation by studying the song they've chosen to represent them to the world. It's not a coincidence that the American anthem is a battle hymn, a story about war. And Britain hardly even has an anthem at all. I find it difficult to really count God Save the Queen, since that's also in use in other countries too - here in Norway, for one.

Some examples: The Norwegian anthem is about the country's physical appearance and about its people's struggle against superior outside forces. The Swedish anthem is about how Sweden's great and they like it a lot. :-) There's nothing about anything historical or troubles in the past - and indeed, why should there be; they had no such trouble, they only made it for others. ;-) The Danish is about physical features, again, as well as the country's ancient history. It refers to some of the old Norse gods, even. Really ancient history. :-) The French anthem is about their modern history, about ideology and politics. The Saudi Arabian one is about how Allah rocks and please will he give their king a long life. Sheesh, the poor saps. The Israeli anthem is about Zionism. As far as I understand the lyrics they seem rather whiny and irrational. Quel surprise. ;-) The Icelandic anthem is about how Iceland is the best, Iceland rules, Iceland is the best EVAR, and God loves them more than anyone. Again, not a surprise, is it. ;-) The Spanish anthem has no official lyrics, because apparently they haven't been able to agree on any. :-D I've seen a couple of versions of the lyrics and ... to be honest, they sound kind of fascist. The Dutch anthem is the oldest in the entire world. Of course. :-) It's about history from centuries ago and how it's best to be friends and get along. Aww. :-)

My favorite national anthem, out of all the ones I've heard, is of course the Norwegian one. Discount that, I am hopelessly biased. :-) My second favorite is the Russian anthem, the Hymn of the Federation. Now that is a hell of a national anthem. I dig it. :-) And since this is - hooray! - Russia Day, it seemed like a great reason to post it here on the blog. Have a listen. Oh, and if you think it sounds kinda suspicious, well, it was written for the Soviet Union in 1944. So ... yeah. It is kinda suspicious. But it sounds fantastic. :-)


Paz said...

Our anthem is about the 1916 rising against the English, I prefer it in Irish because some of the words loose meaning in English, But the Irish rugby team had to have a new 'Anthem' written because half the team is from Northern Ireland, its about brotherhood etc etc and IMO and in the opinion of others a piece of crap

Leisha Camden said...

I actually have never heard the Irish national anthem. :-o zomg!! Must be rectified ... !!

Paz said...án_na_bhFiann
you'll get the words there
if you go here you'll hear Irelands call sang after anthem by a mostly 80,000 Irish crowd

Leisha Camden said...

Great, thanks!! :-)

Paz said...

meant to put this in too,

DES said...

Bzzzt! Wrong, but thank you for playing.

The French national anthem is a battle song, and quite a bloodthirsty one. Originally entitled Chant de guerre pour l'armée du Rhin (Battle song for the Rhine army), it is now known as La Marseillaise because it was adopted by a corps of volunteers from Marseille early on in the war against Austria-Hungary (1792-1815).

Here is a rough translation of the chorus:

To arms, citizens! / Form up your battalions! / Let us march, let us march, / May tainted blood / Water our furrows!

The rest is about ferocious enemy soldiers (i.e. the Austro-Hungarian army) wanting to slit the throats of our wives and sons and enslave our proud nation, and about how we should be magnanimous and spare the poor reluctant conscripts, but show no mercy to their despotic leaders and their treacherous allies (i.e. exiled French nobility).

Leisha Camden said...

What are you talking about?

I never said that the French anthem wasn't a battle hymn, so I don't know what you're talking about. It's about their modern history, like I said. And their politics - kill the aristos and praise the Republic.

Sorry, your politics. >:-)

Paz, thanks for the url!

DES said...

It has nothing at all to do with “modern history”—it's a pure propaganda piece. It is about a war that France declared out of spite, and that hadn't even started at the time the song was written.