La Bayamesa

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La Bayamesa  (1867) 
by Pedro Felipe Figueredo, translator unknown

Pedro Felipe Figueredo was a lawyer, landowner, poet and musician, born in 1818, in Bayamo. In the 1860s, he was active in the planning of the uprising against the Spanish which became known as the Ten Years' War. In 1867, he wrote La Bayamesa, which, today, is the national anthem of Cuba. He fought in the Ten Years' War as a general under the command of Carlos Manuel de Céspedes, but in 1870, was captured by the Spanish and was executed in Santiago de Cuba on August 17 of that year.

It is generally accepted that the music of La Bayamesa (an upbeat battle hymm) predates the lyrics by several years. Mambís (peasant soldiers for independence from Spain) would hum the tune along with bugles as they marched into battle.


Al combate corred bayameses
Que la patria os comtempla orgullosa
No temaís 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.


Hasten to battle, men of Bayamo,
For the fatherland looks proudly to you.
Fear not a glorious death,
To die for the fatherland is to live.

To live in chains is to live
In combined dishonour and ignominy.
From the clarion hear the call,
To arms, brave ones, hasten!