Saturday, June 6, 2009

The National Anthem of Cuba

El Himno de Bayamo is the national anthem of Cuba. It was first performed during the Battle of Bayamo in 1868. Perucho Figueredo who took part in the battle, wrote and composed the song. The melody, also called La Bayamesa, was composed by Figueredo in 1867. In October 20, 1868 the Cuban forces obtained the capitulation of the Spaniard authorities in Bayamo, the jubilant people surrounded Figueredo and asked him to write an anthem with the melody they were humming. Right on the saddle of his horse, Figueredo wrote the lyrics of the anthem, which was longer than the current official version. Figueredo was captured and executed by the Spaniards two years later. Just before the firing squad received the Fire command, Figueredo shouted the line from his anthem: Morir por la Patria es vivir. Officially adopted in 1902, the anthem was retained after the revolution of 1959. The arrangement commonly used, without credit in Cuba, is believed to be that of José Norman, author of Cuban Pete. The Cuban composer, Antonio Rodriguez-Ferrer was the author of the musical introductory notes to the Cuban national anthem.

In addition to the Himno de Bayamo, there are two other well-known Cuban songs called La Bayamesa. The first Bayamesa was composed in 1851 by Carlos Manuel de Cespedes and José Fornaris at the request of their friend Francisco Castillo Moreno, who is sometimes also credited with the lyrics. Many years later, in 1918, the composer Sindo Garay from, Santiago de Cuba composed a song that he called Mujer Bayamesa; popular usage shortened the title to La Bayamesa.