Friday, 27 January 2012

My Top 10 National Anthems

Thanks to Peter Black for bringing this brilliant article from the BBC about the 'sing-ability' of the Welsh national anthem 'Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau' to my attention.

I have a soft spot for national anthems. They can say a lot about the country that it represents. Each has a unique quality that makes it stand out from the rest. In fact, so keen am I for these musical oddities, I have been known to run an audio round in quizzes that I have written for various gatherings, with a 'Guess the nation that this anthem represents' theme. Sad, I know!

As a particular connoisseur of sporting events and occasions, I have long been used to hearing the anthems of various countries being played, either in the build-up to a team event or in the celebratory occasion of a podium conclusion to a team or individual event.

It goes without saying that 'Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau' is my Number 1. Yes it's because it's Welsh, but for any patriotic Welshman, it has a passionate resonance and a melody that inspires us greatly. I'm delighted that this academic article has shown that it comes out favourably on the 'sing-ability' scale though it doesn't surprise me at all.

So I'm taken it for granted that it is my favourite and removing it from the ensuing list which will countdown my otherwise Top 10 National Anthems.

No.10 - USA (Star Spangled Banner - Marvin Gaye at the 1968 World Series)

No.9 - Australia (Advance Australia Fair - Delta Goodrem at the Melbourne Cup)

No.8 - China (March of the Volunteers - with subtitles)

No.7 - Germany (Deutschlandlied - 1998 British GP Podium Ceremony)

No.6 - Russia (National Anthem of the Russian Federation)

No.5 - France (La Marseillaise)

No.4 - Brazil (Hino Nacional Brasileiro)

No.3 - Italy (Il Canto degli Italiani)

No.2 - Canada (Oh Canada!)

My number on though has to be the anthem that united a nation in more ways than one. Merged in 1997, Nkosi sikelel' iAfrika employs the five most widely spoken of South Africa's eleven official languages - Xhosa (first stanza, first two lines), Zulu (first stanza, last two lines), Sesotho (second stanza), Afrikaans (third stanza) and English (final stanza). It is an incredible and worthy attempt to demonstrate and honour the multi-cultural make-up of a nation.

No.1 - South Africa (Nkosi sikelel' iAfrika)


  1. South Africa number one without any shadow of a doubt. However, I would like to nominate this as the best version of the Italian anthem I have heard (from the Winter Olympics in 20060

    1. My favourite anthem is the South African one, but during the apartheid era. I don't very much like the tune of the anthem until the Afrikaans.

  2. dissapointed the New Zealand national anthem isnt here (god save new zealand), im an aussie but everytime I hear that anthem (especially before the footy) and it transitions from the maori to english verse I get a chill up my spine.

  3. I quite like the Nigerian anthem...

    don't ask me why...

  4. yeah I am an Australian of South African heritage and for me the New Zealand anthem is the winner by a considerable margin. But then I can understand a Welshman not liking it considering the rugby history.... those damn All Blacks.

  5. New Zealand's anthem is quite an emotional one to listen to. I think an excellent anthem though is that of Kazakhstan (not the Borat one).
    God Defend New Zealand:
    My Kazakhstan: