Anthem of the day: Hino Nacional Brasileiro!

Brazil protests 2013

The lyrics: Anyone who’s been watching the protests in Brazil over the last week can’t help but have heard the country’s anthem. Crowds have been singing it in the street, in football stadiums and even while going up and down escalators.

Protestors have also apparently been holding up signs with lines from it, saying things like “A son of yours doesn’t flee from battle” (fortunately they didn’t choose some of the more poetic lines like, “Our meadows are the best in the world”).

The obvious reason it’s being sung is the protestors are patriots – they want money spent on education and transport rather than football stadiums – and there’s no better way of getting that across than singing “O beloved homeland” over and over again. But there’s another reason…

The music: Brazil’s anthem has an amazing tune. Just listen to it.

The first 30 seconds, before the words come in, are almost the perfect example of how going from very LOUD to very quiet repeatedly is the most effective trick in music. It’s like a dance tune winding up before the bass drops. You can’t help but get excited by it. Ok, it doesn’t reach those heights again until the end, but it scarcely matters.

Francisco Manuel da Silva wrote the anthem back in the 1830s. He had a nose that made him look a bit like a pig.

What it says about the country? That few places are as patriotic, and that its musical heritage is as much filled with classical pieces as tropicalia. Although yes, the anthem would be better if it sounded like thisor this!

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