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The Himno Invasor (the Invader Anthem)

Published: 2016.10.17 - 18:08:28   /  /  Juan Blas Rodríguez  /  translated by  Luis E. Amador Dominguez  /

Sung in times of combat, under its vibrant notes, they fought, died and triumphed, since that November 15 when Enrique Loynaz del Castillo and Holguín musicians, in absolute fusion of art and patriotism, gave us that song to the revolution and the triumph that is the Himno Invasor (the Invader Anthem).

In his own words, Enrique Loynaz del Castillo, on February 12, 1943, described how it came up: "No one thought about creating an anthem for the tremendous campaign that would decide the fate of the country. By coincidence, it was my idea. The invading army, under General Maceo camped in the company of the Camagüey forces in the great La Matilde paddock on November 15, 1895... We saw a few insults on the walls of the building left by the enemy. There we camped and, in a white and blue window, we read something different: some beautiful verses crowned by the Spanish flag. One of our comrades wanted to erase it, but I opposed and convinced him that the letters and arts, under any flag, are universal heritage, oblivious to the conflicts of men.

At that time, on the other shutter of the same window, I painted the beloved flag of Cuba, and wrote these verses...

To the Villas, courageous Cubans!
The duty sends us to the West
Throw the tyrants out of the Homeland
Charge! To conquer or die!
We have Martí’s beloved memory
And our lives is an offering to honor
We are guided by the glowing sword
of Maceo, the Invader Caudillo.
Gómez raised his blade of glory,
and traced the triumphal route,
each march will be a victory:
the victory of good over evil.
Go to the front line! Heroic people of Oriente Province:
Advance! Legendary Camagüey:
Go to the West! Villa residents of honor,
For the Homeland, for Freedom!
Let the sublime torch of war
Turn our home into ashes;
because Cuba is finished, or redeems,
afire from one sea to another sea.
Charge! Squadrons because the bugle
has already called us to battle,
let us raise the furious machetes,
Death to the vile that outraged the Homeland!

At that patriotic atmosphere, heated to red, the verses of the invasion, as they immediately called them, were like wildfire ... Then I went to see General Maceo, ‘’General, here is a hymn of war, which will deserve your great name: Let me hum it.’’

"Well’’, replied the General. And as I would sing the verses to him, his look was encouraged. At the end, in the evocative verse of charge trumpets, he put his hand on my head. "Superb", he said. "I do not know anything about music, for me it is a noise, but I like this one. It will be the Invading Hymn; yes, remove my name, and will go in triumph through the Republic." Then he added, "Let us see Dositeo Aguilera, head of the music band of the Invading Army, so the band will rehearse early tomorrow." Captain Dositeo Aguilera appeared before the General Maceo.

"I have called you", said the General, "so that the band plays a hymn of war, which will sing to Commander Loynaz. Go somewhere and sit on a stone, where no one bothers you; work until the band plays exactly the Invader Anthem. Hurry up!"

Loynaz tells us, "In my opinion, just half an hour had passed and the melody was already full on the staff, which I was humming it. Dositeo praised it, but added: "I hope you do not mind if I make it a small correction". I interrupted: “General Maceo said that he liked it exactly as it was". "Yes, but neither the General nor you know anything about music. With the notes of this first measure, there is no voice that reaches the latter. And a hymn is to be sung. And finally Captain Dositeo set the anthem to music.’’

"The next day the Invading Army had a hymn. And it would go through all the Republic ... In Mal Tiempo, when passing in front of the band, at the frantic beats led by Dositeo Aguilera, it would launch arrogant vibrations of the Anthem on the battlefield, all the combatants felt as if they were driven by invisible wings over the historic enemy in historic, thundering, and victorious machete charges, by impulse of the glorious Invader Anthem, the Hymn of Maceo.

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