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The Anthem of Bayamo

Published: 2016.08.19 - 17:28:48   /  /  Juan Blas Rodríguez  /  translated by  Luis E. Amador Dominguez  /

The Anthem of BayamoThe anthem of Bayamo is, together with the Flag and Coat of Arms, the musical symbol of the Republic of Cuba. The melody of its six stanzas were composed by Pedro Figueredo and orchestrated by Manuel Muñoz Cedeño.

On August 13, 1867, the Revolutionary Committee met at the home of lawyer Pedro Figueredo in Bayamo, in the eastern part of Cuba, to develop plans that should trigger the Cuban independence movement. There they suggested to Perucho, as he was known, that he compose an anthem for the heroic deed. At dawn on August 14, the Bayamo patriot wrote the melody of the Anthem of Bayamo.

On May 8, 1868, Perucho Figueredo requested the musician Manuel Muñoz Cedeño to compose the orchestration of the march, an epic song, a hymn of war that would call for battle.

Perucho convinced the Bayamo priest, so that his music was premiered by the Muñoz Cedeño orchestra in the mass at the church where, as was customary, the Spanish governor, General Udaeta, would be present. On June 11, 1868, Perucho managed they played it at the Iglesia Mayor in Bayamo.

When the governor heard the piece, he was surprised and sent for Pedro Figueredo. The governor told Perucho that the march "had nothing religious and a lot of warrior" to which he responded: "You cannot determine that this is a war song since you are not a musician."

The struggle for independence from Spanish rule began On October 10, 1868. The high command of the Liberation Army determined to proceed to the taking of Bayamo, which was a strategic location in the eastern province, for the first sharp blow to the Spanish forces. On October 20, the city was taken by the revolutionary forces.

Amidst the joy of the rebel troops, next to Carlos Manuel de Céspedes and other patriots mounted in their horses, and in the midst of an angry crowd, Figueredo heard when his march was sung and how the people requested the lyrics; he took out a sheet of paper from his portfolio, crossed one leg over the horse saddle and wrote the lyrics of the anthem.

The written paper passed from hand to hand and from heart to heart. Thus, on October 20, 1868, in the first free city of Cuba, there was the official birth of the anthem that called for battle, which was initially known as the Bayamesa. 

The current version of the Bayamesa is what José Martí published in the Patria newspaper on June 25, 1892, with music by Emilio Agramonte.

Although Perucho Figueredo composed music for this anthem, it was modified over time, maybe because it did not have the reference of the original score. This caused different harmonizations arise, which differed in more or less measure of the original.

In 1983, the renowned Cuban musicologist and researcher Odilio Urfé presented a paper at the National Assembly of People's Power, in which he proposed the current and final version of our anthem. The original score and lyrics are now in the custody of the National Museum of Music of Cuba.


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