Non-American National Songs

The US has its Yankee Doodle and its God Bless America and its America (“My country 'tis of thee”). What about your country?

I know, especially in Europe, there is a crossing of tunes. For example, “America” uses the tune of “God Save the Queen (King)” which used the tune of a German song. There is also the scene in Kubrick’s “The Paths of Glory” where the German woman and the Frrench soldiers sing the same song together. Do you know of any connections like that?

Song of Australia and God Bless Australia are probably the best-known guff of this type. GBA is to the tune of Waltzing Matilda.

You could argue that Waltzing Matilda or I Still Call Australia Home (or even Down Under or Great Southern Land) might qualify, but they’re not the same sort of thing.

When it comes to songs that say “I’m a mindless jingoist who ‘thinks’ that my country as a concept is one that must be championed beyond the call of rationality”, we’re just not as well served as many of the others out there.

I don’t know the words at all to “The Maple Leaf Forever” (shocking!), but I think Stan Rogers’ “Northwest Passage” would fill the bill adequately.

(That, or the Arrogant Worms’ “The War Of 1812 (The White House Burned Burned Burned And We’re The Ones Who Did It)”.

The Fields of Athenry works as a Munster or Ireland rugby song, and as an unofficial National Anthem.
“Low lie,
the fields of Athenry,
where once we watched the small free birds fly.
(hey baby, let those free birds fly!)
Our love was on the wing
we had dreams and songs to sing
now it’s lonely around the fields of Athenry!”
Bear in mind though, Irish people tend to know a LOT of rebel songs, which they are quite happy to sing after a few drinks.

from this sceptred isle:

Land of Hope and Glory & Rule Britannia! spring to mind.

Jerusalem is also a biggie - it even won a (Relatively) recent newspaper poll (i suspect it was the daily mail) to see which song the English would prefer to have as a national anthem instead of the god awful old God Save the Queen:

Three Lions on a Shirt is, of course, the ultimate national song for anyone in England who has an ounce of passion for football. :slight_smile:

My fellow Kiwis may come up with others, but I think we still identify with Po kare kare ana as a “national” song. Also Po Atarau / Haere Ra / Now is the Hour. Although, in the light of recent maritime endeavours, one could also add Loyal. :slight_smile:

garius, I love “Jerusalem,” but I thought it was called “Milton.” Its’ a beautiful song, but I like “God Save the Queen” better. Short and sweet, unless you want to sing all six verses, but then you’ll have some pissed off Scots on your hands. Eh, it was written pre-unification. I think the “Star Spangled Banner’s” third verse has a bit about stomping the British or British blood running in the streets or something to that effect. Its’ funny how times change.

I must say my first exposure to “Jerusalem” was though the Monty Pthyon mattress sketch, so whenever I hear it I can’t help but think of that guy with the bag over his head.

I am passionately in favour of Jerusalem as an English national anthem. Bollocks to all the right-wing groups who’ve hijacked it, it still puts a tear in my eye. Note: I want it played at my funeral.

The Welsh sing “Sospan vach” (little saucepan) in addition to their slightly rubbish national anthem “My hen laid a haddock” (or whatever it’s meant to be).

The Scots sing “O Flower of Scotland” as their anthem (don’t know if this is official or not).

The anthem is a big problem for the Irish rugby team, which is cross-border, so before matches they sing the Irish one and then this horrible pseudo-anthem that doesn’t mention soldiers or stuff like that.

I think the point with the “Jerusalem” thing was that it would be England’s national anthem - not the British one.

The problem with “God Save the Queen” is that:

  1. Its pretty dreary
  2. Its about the Monarch not the Country.

Personally i’m a big fan of “Land of Hope and Glory”

Thats “Land of Hoe and Glory” for the British anthem.

I’m with Jjimm on Jerusalem for the English one. There is something incredibly evocative and patriotic about it.

“Hope” :smack:

Although in saying that we are meant to be a nation of gardeners… :slight_smile:

Jerusalem performed well is an amazingly moving song. Even gets me and I’m Irish.

As to the embarrassment that is Irelands Call well just look at the lyrics

For non-Brits unfamiliar with Land of Hope and Glory, it’s sung to the March from Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance #2 IIRC, known in the US primarily as “that music you graduate to”.

And let’s not forget that Liverpool football favorite, You’ll Never Walk Alone from Carousel, as made popular by Gerry Marsden in a rather moving rendition. Speaking of Liverpool football, though, I have no explanation for the people singing “Liverpool, Liverpool, Liverpool/ Liverpool, Liverpool, Liverpoooooool…” to the tune of Stars and Stripes Forever. They must just like the tune.

Oops – almost forgot the worker’s anthem The Red Flag, usually sung to the tune of O Tannenbaum, for which reason I can never take it seriously.

Similarly the Geordies (people from Newcastle) have the incredibly moving Fog on the Tyne* by Paul Gascoigne

It could be because “The Maple Leaf Forever” doesn’t really reflect current Canadian sensibilities (“We are not a British colony, dammit!” as a friend used to say about the song), nor treat Quebec very kindly. Off the top of my head, here’s one of the verses, followed by the chorus:

*In days of yore, from Britannia’s shore,
Wolfe the dauntless hero came,
And planted firm Britannia’s flag
On Canada’s fair domain

The Maple Leaf, our emblem dear.
The Maple Leaf forever–
God save the Queen and Heaven bless
The Maple Leaf forever!*

You would, of course, substitute “King” for “Queen” if it was appropriate.

I remember the words (well, as you can see, not all of them) from singing this as part of our school morning exercises in the mid-1960s–along with “O Canada” and “God Save the Queen,” followed by the Lord’s Prayer and the Bible reading. But I also remember that the teachers were told to stop classes from singing “The Maple Leaf Forever” as part of the morning exercises sometime in the latter half of the sixties.

Interestingly, the song has become the “theme song” of the Queen’s Plate horse race, which is coming up this Sunday. When I went to the Plate as recently as the late 80s and early 90s, the race had no song. But the organizers must have looked south and seen and heard how important “My Old Kentucky Home” is to the Kentucky Derby, so they decided that the Queen’s Plate needed a song, too. Why they chose “The Maple Leaf Forever,” I’ll never know.

Anyway, Matt, I’ll agree with you on Stan Rogers. Plenty of his songs would fit the bill nicely. Or we could consider a few of Stompin’ Tom Connors’ songs as well, as long as they are not too regional. “The Hockey Song,” anyone? :slight_smile:

In South Africa there are quite a few songs, depending on which cultural group you belong to. However one song that has been almost universally accepted is Shosholoza. Traditionally it was a work song sung to keep everyone in rythm but can now be found sung at many soccer, rugby and cricket matches. You can listen to an mp3 and lyrics at this page. This page has the lyrics for a very nice adaptation of Shosholoza that was done by Ladysmith Black Mambazo.

The lyrics are:
Ku lezontaba
Stimela si qhamuka e South Africa

Wen u ya baleka
Wen u ya baleka
Ku lezontaba
Stimela si qhamuka South Africa*

Which translate to:
You are meandering on those mountains
The train is from South Africa

You accelerate
You accelerate
On those mountains
The train is from South Africa*

For some reason this brings Swing Low, Sweet Chariot as sung in rugby and other circles to my mind.

Or just the Hockey Night in Canada theme song.

The lyrics are:

Da-da-da-da-DAA-aa! (bum bum bum bum)
Da-da-da-da-DAA-aa! (bum bum bum bum)
DAA (bum bum bum bum)

I could never get into Dadaist national anthems. They seemed too much of a contradiction.