Archive for Tuesday, May 2, 2006

Proud anthem

May 2, 2006


To the editor:

I am not a prejudiced person either. I do not have a problem with immigrants. I feel proud that people want to come to America for hope of a better future for their families. I would probably do the same in their shoes.

I do not have a problem with English/Spanish instructions, I do not even have a problem with "for Spanish, press 2." But when I read about a Spanish version of "The Star-Spangled Banner," I couldn't believe my eyes. Is there a country in this world that would accept its national anthem being sung in a language other than what it was written? I sincerely doubt it. Any country would find that offensive. Yes, we are all human and all breathe the same air, but if I was to sing a nation's anthem other than my own, I would respect them enough to sing it in that country's language.

I am proud to call myself an American and feel very lucky to have lived here my entire life. This song is sacred, special and dear to the hearts of Americans, even though a lot of them do not know all of the lyrics. Think about how you feel when it is sung and the reason we celebrate each Fourth of July.

Please leave the anthem alone, and the next time you hear it, don't be afraid to stand up and place your hand over your heart and remember how special that song is.

Kaprelle Bradley,



xenophonschild 11 years, 10 months ago

Amen. America the Beautiful, and Kansas the Wonderful. Sometimes we don't pause and consider just how lucky we are.

Bradley Kemp 11 years, 10 months ago

I take it, then, that you'd be offended by a singing of "God Bless America," too. After all, that's just the British national anthem ("God Save the King/Queen") with substitute lyrics.

mom_of_three 11 years, 10 months ago

I am sure if she was in Canada, and singing their national anthem, then she would sing their words, and not the American lyrics to the tune.

Jamesaust 11 years, 10 months ago

Almost as offensive as on national Law Day (yesterday) W. declaring this year's theme: "Liberty Under Law: Separate Branches, Balanced Powers"

If you're going to be offended, at least find something worthy of attention.

Bruce Bertsch 11 years, 10 months ago

Our national anthem is a British Pub drinking tune. Should we also be pissed at the pissed Brits who sing it with their own lyric?

mefirst 11 years, 10 months ago

I have to agree. I understand and appreciate BOTH sides of the debate, and I'm not one of those folks who get all sentimental over the Star Spangled Banner, but c'mon!

I don't think anyone really intends for the Spanish version to ursurp the English version, but can't whomever created this version see how divisive it is? Did they really think red-blooded norte americanos (because yes, Mexicans are Americans too) would embrace it? I can't help but question the motive for this new version. I don't think it was in the spirit of unity.

badger 11 years, 10 months ago

Translating it, fine by me. I think it would be cool for people who don't speak English to be able to adapt it.

However, I have real issues with this translation of it. They deliberately changed "Rockets' red glare" and "Bombs bursting in air" to "Fierce combat" because they wanted to avoid mention of bombs and rockets. Who what in the where now? Also, the second stanza now contains a line to the effect of, "We are equals, we are brothers," and bears no resemblance whatsoever to the original wording.

People want protest songs, let them write protest songs and I'll sing right along like a good little hippie. People want to be able to opt to sing the national anthem in any language they want, I'm all for that too (though keeping the English version for 'official' occasions, because that's its original language). Hey, if kids in a predominantly Spanish-speaking area want to sing a Spanish translation for a choir concert, more power to them. Chinese, Korean, you name it, I'll never be offended by someone creating a faithful translation to give folks who may not be able to handle the somewhat archaic English with full comprehension.

However, when the meaning of the song is deliberately altered and the translation is part of a political agenda, then I'm not so much down with that.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 11 years, 10 months ago

Perhaps we should leave it to the family of the lyricist of the Star Spangled Banner. After all, Leo Kottke is a pretty good musician in his own right, and may have some insight into what his ancestor Francis Kottke might think about it.

Fatty_McButterpants 11 years, 10 months ago

Um, bozo, I think you mean "Francis Scott Key" - not "Kottke".

As for the offensive nature of the Spanish translation - maybe it shouldn't surprise anyone that the idea was the brainchild of a British music producer.

Badger is correct - the lyrics to the song have been changed and, as such, should be offensive to those that have a patriotic bone in their body. This spanish version is NOT the United States' National Anthem and should not be portrayed as such.

kcwarpony 11 years, 10 months ago

"Is there a country in this world that would accept its national anthem being sung in a language other than what it was written?"

Actually, yes. Some American Indian tribes sing the national anthem in their native language. They don't rewrite it and translate as close as possible. I don't ever recall anyone being offended when the Navajo sing it in Navajo. Of course if I did I would have to remind them that if not for the Code Talkers in WWI and WWII, things could have turned out differently. Good thing those Indian kids broke the rules and secretly spoke their languages while in the government boarding schools.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 11 years, 10 months ago

'Um, bozo, I think you mean "Francis Scott Key" - not "Kottke".'

I guess you caught me posting out of Key. Oh, well, never mind.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 11 years, 10 months ago

Note: This poem, "To Anacreon in Heaven," was written in 1770 by Ralph Tomlinson, president of the Anacreontic Society, a social club of well-to-do Londoners, as the society's drinking song. It was set to music in 1771 by John Stafford Smith, an organist, composer and tenor. About 43 years later, the American patriot Francis Scott Key, after witnessing the British attack on Fort McHenry in the War of 1812, wrote the lyrics to "The Star Spangled Banner" to the popular tune. Nowadays, of course, the U.S. National Anthem is customarily played as a solemn hymn. The original, however, is a sprightly dance tune, and even as recently as the American Civil War, the anthem was traditionally played in a much lighter style than we are accustomed to hearing today. Original performances on current recordings include "Should Auld Acquaintance Be Forgot: America's most popular songs in their original versions," on Musical Heritage Society compact disk MHS 512415X, which presents the Anacreontic song in its original version (and the liner notes for which are the source of the preceding transcription); and "Honor to Our Soldiers, Music of the Civil War," on Musical Heritage Society compact disk MHS 512959F, which offers the Star Spangled Banner as it might have been played by a military band of the Civil War era. The Smithsonian's Museum of American History also offers an excellent survey of the various styles of the anthem through the ages in its hourly presentation at the Fort McHenry banner display, which is definitely worth a visit. It takes a certain imagination to stretch the sonorous tones of the anthem as we know it today to Tomlinson's original lyrics

(see next post for original lyrics)

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 11 years, 10 months ago

ANACREONTIC SONG (2) (Ralph Tomlinson)

To Anacreon, in Heav'n, where he sat in full glee, A few sons of harmony sent a petition, That he their inspirer and patron would be; When this answer arrived from the jolly old Grecian -- Voice, fiddle and flute, No longer be mute. I'll lend ye my name, and inspire ye to boot... And, besides, I'll instruct ye, like me, to entwine, The myrtle of Venus with Bacchus's vine.

The news through Olympus immediately flew; Where Old Thunder pretended to give himself airs -- If these mortals are suffer'd their scheme to pursue, There's devil a goddess will stay above stairs. Hark! already they cry, In transports of joy. A fig for Parnassus! to Rowley's we'll fly; And there, my good fellows, we'll learn to entwine, The myrtle of Venus with Bacchus's vine.

The yellow-hair'd god, and his nine fusty maids, To the hill of old Lud will incontinent flee. Idalia will boast but of tenantless shades, And the biforked hill a mere desert will be. My thunder, no fear on't, Will soon do its errand, And dam'me! I'll swinge the ringleaders, I warrant. I'll trim the young dogs, for thus daring to twine, The myrtle of Venus with Bacchus's vine.

Apollo rose up; and said, Pr'ythee ne'er quarrel, Good king of the gods, with my vot'ries below! Your thunder is useless -- then, shewing his laurel, Cry'd, Sic evitabile fulmen, you know! Then over each head My laurels I'll spread; So my sons from your crackers no mischief shall dread, Whilst snug in their club-room, they jovially twine, The myrtle of Venus with Bacchus's vine.

Next Momus got up, with his risible phiz; And swore with Apollo he'd cheerfully join -- The full tide of harmony still shall be his, But the song, and the catch, and the laugh shall be mine; Then, Jove, be not jealous Of these honest fellows. Cry'd Jove, We relent, since the truth you now tell us; And swear, by Old Styx, that they long shall entwine, The myrtle of Venus with Bacchus's vine.

Ye sons of Anacreon, then, join hand in hand; Preserve unanimity, friends and love. 'Tis your's to support what's so happily plan'd; You've the sanction of gods, and the fiat of Jove. While thus we agree, Our toast let it be. May our club flourish happy, united and free! And long may the sons of Anacreon entwine, The myrtle of Venus with Bacchus's vine.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.