A national anthem is arguably the greatest work of music a country can produce. It’s a true reflection of the nation’s culture, their people and their traditions. It ignites a fire within the hearts of the indigenous people, motivating them to fight wars, play football matches, and recollect the struggles the forefathers went through to build a nation from the ground up. In this article, we share our pick of the ten most beautiful national anthems from around the world:
Paraguay’s Republic or Death!
The Paraguayan people are earnest about their national anthem, and the name goes to show just that. It’s not the best national anthem out there, but it is the most aptly named one. Republic or Death not only gives you an idea of what the song is really about, but it also portrays the real sense of nationalism.
Imagine an announcer asking the crowd to Stand up for Republic or Death”. Now that would be cool. Even though Paraguay’s sports accolades are limited to a silver medal in men’s football, they do always participate in sporting events with a lot of heart and panache.
Nepal’s We Are Hundreds of Flowers
We are hundreds of flowers sounds a bit unusual, and the song itself is not like any national anthem you have ever head. That doesn’t necessarily make it a bad song. It’s nothing like a church melody or something you’d play on the backdrop of a military parade.
It, however, does paint a joyous picture of the country; the sort of music you hear Taxi drivers play out loud in the streets of Kathmandu. It’s the only anthem that requires a Casio keyboard to play and is a stream of happiness and positivity. You might find it a bit unsettling to know that it was produced within the Maoist revolution.
Mauritania’s National Anthem
The Mauritian national anthem does a very bad job at advertising a country. A menacing picture of the country is painted, something you don’t expect from a national anthem. You can hear the people scream, “Once you come here, there is no getting out.”
It’s safe to say that it’s a lot more frightening than the North Korean anthem or Iran’s anthem, and that’s saying something. The song is titled Motherland, and for all its vices, it does paint a pretty picture of the indigenous landscapes.
Russia’s National Anthem
The Russian anthem has been known to cause some controversy at sporting events, and for a good reason. Provided the fact that the state-sponsored the doping of some of the athletes, if and when Russia wins any gold, the crowd is likely to give them a tough time.
However, that shouldn’t take away the spotlight from the song itself. It’s widely regarded as one of the most melodious and vehement national anthems around the world, and the lyrics are so powerful, it often leaves most of the singers in tears.
Myanmar’s Until the End of the World
South Africans like to claim that their anthem is the only one that starts in a different tune to the one it ends in, with the song being a mixture of Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika and Die Stem van Suid-Afrika, but their claim isn’t necessarily true. Myanmar’s brilliantly named anthem, Until the End of the World, does the same thing, albeit in a far weirder way.
When it’s played within their country, it begins with a Burmese folk tune, but within 30 seconds, it transforms into a military march. It’s almost like a DJ getting bored of the slow tunes and switching to a trance song.
Democratic Republic of Congo’s Arise Congolese
UK’s God Save the King, the first national anthem in the world, was initially meant to be sung by a single musician and not a crowd, but that didn’t happen. However, the Congo people decided to honor that tradition. Arise Congolese’s last section has been crafted to be sung by a soloist, with a choir chipping in for the words Congo, 30 June, and sacred day.
With that said, the original design of the song isn’t respected most of the times. Since everyone is so engrossed in singing the song, they fail to let the soloist work his magic during the final verse. However, you do get a sense of its beauty.
China’s March of the Volunteers
Even though March of the Volunteers is played frequently at the Olympics, not many people are aware of its weird past. The song was originally composed for Children of Troubled Times, a 1935 film which depicted the invasion of Manchuria by the Japanese troops.
However, the song became so popular, especially because of the lyrics asking people to build a new Great Wall with their blood and flesh, that it got released on vinyl and eventually became the country’s national anthem.
Kazakhstan’s My Kazakhstan
Everybody has a laugh when the wrong national anthem gets played by mistake, but the Kazakh athletes must be sick of such mishaps. In 2012, a song from the movie Borat was played instead of their anthem. That was not the only time this happened though; another time, the athletes had to listen to Livin’ La Vida Loca during an opening ceremony.
My Kazakhstan is a beautiful song, and anyone who is responsible for playing national anthems at sporting events should not repeat transgressions of the past in the future. It has inspiring lyrics, and the melody has a sense of vehement patriotism to it.
Brazil’s National Anthem
Not many nationals can match the enthusiasm showed by the Brazilian people. They are always so full of life, and their national anthem has been written along the same lines. It sounds like a mini-opera, with the introduction spiraling upwards and gaining pace so fast that you almost feel like the melody is dragging you onto your feet.
Every time it’s played at a sporting event, the whole crowd sings along, and that’s a sight everyone enjoys. Unlike most sports fans, Brazilians sing the anthem as if they are required to. Their joy and enthusiasm appear to be oozing out of their bodies, and they always lift the whole stadium.
Israel’s The Hope
National anthems stir up a lot of emotions, but normally they don’t trigger sadness. Israeli music composers didn’t like to take the traditional route and compose a joyous, beautiful melody; they wanted to make something that makes people recollect the struggles of the past.
It was written before the country’s existence, and that makes sense. Throughout the song, you can hear the longing for a Jewish homeland, with the music having a nostalgic feel to it. Anytime it’s played in a stadium, expect athletes to tear up.