La Bayamesa

"El Himno de Bayamo" (English: "The Bayamo Anthem", lit.The Hymn of Bayamo") is the national anthem of Cuba. The anthem was first performed during the Battle of Bayamo in 1868. Perucho Figueredo, who took part in the battle, wrote and composed the song. The melody, also called "La Bayamesa" (English: The Bayamo Song"), was composed by Figueredo in 1867.

El Himno de Bayamo
English: The Bayamo Anthem

National anthem of  Cuba
Also known as"La Bayamesa" (English: "The Bayamo Song")
LyricsPerucho Figueredo
MusicPerucho Figueredo and Antonio Rodriguez-Ferrer, 1867
Audio sample
"La Bayamesa" (instrumental, two verses)
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On October 10, 1868, the Cuban forces obtained the capitulation of the Spanish colonial authorities in Bayamo, the jubilant people surrounded Figueredo and asked him to write an anthem with the melody they were humming. Right on the saddle of his horse, Figueredo wrote the lyrics of the anthem, which was longer than the current official version. Figueredo was captured and executed by the Spanish two years later. Just before the firing squad received the Fire command, Figueredo shouted the line from his anthem: "Morir por la Patria es vivir" ("To die for one's country is to live"). Officially adopted in 1902, it was retained even after the revolution of 1959. The Cuban composer Antonio Rodriguez-Ferrer, was the author of the musical introductory notes to the Cuban national anthem.[1]

In addition to the "Himno de Bayamo", there are two other well-known Cuban songs called "La Bayamesa". The first Bayamesa was composed in 1851 by Carlos Manuel de Céspedes and José Fornaris at the request of their friend Francisco Castillo Moreno, who is sometimes also credited with the lyrics. After 1868, during the Cuban war, a "mambí" version of "La Bayamesa" became popular. It has the same melody but different lyrics. Many years later, in 1918, the composer and trovador Sindo Garay, from Santiago de Cuba, composed a song that he called "Mujer Bayamesa"; popular usage shortened the title to "La Bayamesa".


Originally, the song had three stanzas. The last two stanzas were removed in 1902 because the lyrics seems to be anti-Spain. Also, the section was too long compared to the other stanzas.

Spanish lyricsTranslation
First stanza

¡Al combate, corred, bayameses!,
Que la patria os contempla orgullosa;
No temáis una muerte gloriosa,
Que morir por la patria es vivir.
En cadenas vivir es vivir
En afrenta y oprobio sumidos.
Del clarín escuchad el sonido:
¡A las armas, valientes, corred!

To combat, run, Bayamesans!
For the homeland looks proudly upon you;
Do not fear a glorious death,
For to die for the homeland is to live.
To live in chains is to live
Mired in shame and disgrace.
Hear the sound of the bugle:
To arms, brave ones, run!

Second stanza (removed)

No temáis los feroces íberos,
Son cobardes cual todo tirano.
No resisten al bravo cubano;
Para siempre su imperio cayó.
¡Cuba libre! Ya España murió,
Su poder y su orgullo ¿do es ido?
¡Del clarín escuchad el sonido:
¡¡A las armas!!, valientes, corred!

Fear not the vicious Iberians,
They are cowards like every tyrant.
They cannot oppose the spirited Cuban;
Their empire has forever fallen.
Free Cuba! Spain has already died,
Its power and pride, where did it go?
Hear the sound of the bugle:
To arms, brave ones, run!

Third stanza (removed)

Contemplad nuestras huestes triunfantes,
Contempladlos a ellos caídos.
Por cobardes huyeron vencidos;
¡Por valientes, sabemos triunfar!
¡Cuba libre! podemos gritar
Del cañón al terrible estampido.
¡Del clarín escuchad el sonido:
¡¡A las armas!!, valientes, corred!

Behold our triumphant troops,
Behold those who have fallen.
Because they were cowards, they flee defeated;
Because we were brave, we knew how to triumph.
Free Cuba! we can shout
From the cannon's terrible boom.
Hear the sound of the bugle,
To arms, brave ones, run!


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