Lost for words? Composer writes lyrics for Spain’s national anthem

A Madrid composer is hoping to garner enough support to finally put words to Spain's national anthem and bring an end to what has led to some awkward humming at the podium.

Lost for words? Composer writes lyrics for Spain's national anthem
Spain's military band play the national anthem at the Pardo Palace. Photo: Dani Pozo / AFP

Victor Lago, a 43-year-old musician has come up with some lyrics to accompany the military march that has served as Spain’s anthem since the 18th century.

He has launched a campaign to collect the 500,000 signatures needed to present his proposal to parliament for debate by lawmakers.

The national anthem, La Marcha Real, was written in 1761 by an unknown composer and only had lyrics during the 1886-1931 reign of King Alfonso XIII and under Franco.

Lago argues that Spaniards have long suffered the indignity of not having words to belt out during the national anthem.

“I think we deserve, at long last, to have a decent anthem that can be sung with pride by everyone the length and breath of our land,” Lago explains on his website.

A video of the anthem with Victor Lago's words sung by Manu Pilas can be viewed here:

Mr Lago insists that his lyrics are neutral and shouldn’t cause offence to any region of Spain.

“This is my humble proposal for Spain’s national anthem. Written with passion and from the heart and inspired by the love I feel for my country and its people,” he said.

Starting with the words “Glory, homeland,” the verses extol Spain’s fertile land, it's “rivers of red and gold under skies of blue” and it’s “olive trees, history and splendour”.

It also celebrates Spaniards as “noble people” who join together in the fight, “forging paths ahead, without looking back, towards freedom”.

An attempt in 2008 by Spain’s Olympic Committee to set words to the music of the national anthem backfired and was quietly dropped after widespread criticism of the choice.

The lyrics chosen in a competition of 7,000 entries drew critiscm with its opening line of “Viva España”, a phrase associated with the dictatorship of Franco.

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