The Brazilian national anthem is one of the four official symbols of Brazil, along with the national flag, national arms and national seal.
Brasilia – On September 7, 1922, exactly 100 years after independence from Portugal, radio broadcasts started in Brazil. The performance of the national anthem with the new lyrics was then the first broadcast on the radio. President Epitacio Pessoa’s speech was the first radio address by a Brazilian president.
The Brazilian national anthem – the origin
“Hino Nacional Brasileiro”, the music of the national anthem of Brazil, was composed in 1822 by Francisco Manuel da Silva (1795-1865). Even if the song never had the validity and prestige of an official national anthem during the Brazilian Empire (1822-1889), under the two emperors Pedro I and Pedro II, it nevertheless became very popular and recognized, but mostly without lyrics listed.
In 1889 the republic was proclaimed and the national anthem continued without official lyrics. However, various texts have been proposed and some have been adopted by various states in Brazil. It was not until 1909 that a national competition was held to find a suitable text for the national anthem. The text by Joaquim Osório Duque Estrada (1870–1927), which is still valid today, won. At the height of the celebrations of the 100th anniversary of independence, the official lyrics of the Brazilian national anthem were promulgated by decree of President Epitácio Pessoa on September 6, 1922. “Hino Nacional Brasileiro” has been the official national anthem of Brazil since 1922 and will be heard again at the 2022 World Cup as soon as the Brazilian national team is in action.
The Brazilian national anthem – the lyrics
The lyrics of the anthem’s opening line mention the Ipiranga River near the city of Sao Paulo. In the stream, Prince Pedro, later Emperor Pedro I of Brazil, declared Brazilian independence from Portugal.
In 1841 new lyrics were proposed for the national anthem. The new lyrics were intended as a reminder of coming of age and the coronation of Emperor Pedro II. These very popular texts were still considered to be poor in content and were also repealed on behalf of Emperor Pedro II. He then ordered that only the composition by Francisco Manuel da Silva, i.e. without text, should be played as the national anthem of the Brazilian Empire. This applied to all public appearances by the monarch and to all ceremonial occasions of a military or civilian nature. This composition was also played abroad on diplomatic occasions when it was about Brazil or when the Brazilian emperor was present.
The song of the anthem consists of two consecutive stanzas. When the two-verse lyrics were officially adopted in 1922, this created the current situation of playing the anthem’s music twice to enable singing of both verses.
The Brazilian national anthem – background information
A law passed in 1971 contains the current legal norms for the national anthem. This law regulates the national symbols of Brazil, which include the national anthem, the national flag, the national arms and the national seal, and it also regulates very precisely the form of the national anthem and when, on what occasions, and how it is to be played.
Likewise, according to Brazilian law, the music may only be played once in an instrumental version, the anthem without vocal accompaniment. In the song version, however, both stanzas must be sung.
The second verse is often dropped when played at sporting events, as most renditions of the Brazilian national anthem for sporting events are played in the instrumental version. In Brazil, the national anthem is always sung in the official language, i.e. Portuguese.
Why the Brazilian national anthem means so much to fans
During a game of the Brazilian national soccer team, the Seleção, there is no more emotional moment than the national anthem.
When the beginning of the instrumental version comes in, Brazil’s soccer players stand bolt upright in a row with their arms around their teammate’s shoulders. Then comes the deafening “Ouviram do Ipiranga as margens / plácidas De um povo heroico o brado retumbante…”