By Ricky Skelton
Brazil has the world’s worst national anthem. It is official. After exhaustive research (involving watching World Cups and international football for a lifetime), I can declare that the Hino Nacional Brasileira is the worst. Even worse than the Star Spangled Banner of the USA. There is such a thing as a good national anthem – the French have La Marseillaise, the Scottish (unofficially) Flower of Scotland, both almost tear jerking, even for a foreigner. When a stadium of Welsh sing Land of My Fathers, it makes the the back of my neck shiver. These ones, and others, tell you a little about the people and their culture. But the Hino Nacional Brasileira is terrible, even worse than my own place’s God Save The Queen.

Why? Because the national anthem, as in the good ones listed, should be an expression of the characteristics of a nation and its people. Yet for some reason, Brazil has some turgid 200 year old military marching music, which would be more suitable for an old central European country like Lichtenstein. (If Liechtenstein hadn’t already appropriated the music from God Save The Queen first) Brazil’s is the worst because, more than any other country, Brazil can do better. Far better. One of the things I love about Brazil is the incredible amount of uniquely Brazilian genres of music there are, and most of them celebrations of Brazilian culture: Samba; Bossa Nova; Ax; Tropicalia; Forró; MPB; and now Funk, and many more derivations of those. I may not like all of them but I respect the fact that the country invents and cherishes its own styles (perhaps with help from African roots) rather than importing or copying wholesale from Anglo varieties.

The national anthem is supposed to inspire citizens to fight for their country, but Brazil hasn’t had a war for 150 years and that was against Paraguay, and even then Argentina and Uruguay helped out (kind of like beating up your little cousin with the help of your two brothers, all of you older than poor cuz). Military music is not necessary any more.

So the only time now that Hino Nacional Brasileira is played is at sporting events. If you want to inspire the players, whether at the World Cup finals, Davis Cup Tennis or Volleyball matches, why not use something that makes the players proud to be Brazilian, and motivates them to show the world how great the country is! The kind of music that the selecão are all dancing to as the team onibus is arriving at the stadium pre-match. It is impossible to know what type of music they use with the doors of the coach closed, but ohhh I hope it is samba. So get Martinho da Vila or whoever to compose a new Samba Anthem (or even have a Funk one, which would be funny) which will get the players and the crowd infused with the vibrancy and exuberance of their amazing country, and I promise that Brazil will win the 2010 World Cup in South Africa! Even if they do pick 120kg Gordonemo Ronaldo again.

Link if you want one:

Readers comments:

For a contracting view on the anthem, take a look at the Guardian’s editorial comment from the time of the last World Cup.

— Ben

So Ricky thinks the Brazilian National Anthem is bad?!

What a shame. I’ve always regarded it as a beautiful and moving classic. On a par with any piece of musical art from the past.

Perhaps his taste in monotonous. Samba demonstrates a lack of discernment regarding true melody and ‘feeling’, which Hino Nacional Brasileiro has in the extreme.

— David

I have to disagree with Ricky Skelton’s article about the Hino Nacional – it’s a free world and I can!

I adore the hino and get a real buzz out of hearing it and singing it, especially at football games when I find it very difficult to suppress a tear or two.

Call me an old softie but the whole country is in my heart and I love the anthem!

— Ron

You can visit Ricky’s blog at

Previous articles by Ricky:

Around Brazil: Barreirinhas
Around Brazil: Jericoacoara to Barreirinhas
Understanding Brazil: Shopping Centres
Around Brazil: Jericoacoara
Around Brazil: Chapada da Diamantina/Lenois
Brazil vs. Argentina: Statues of Christ
Around Brazil: Salvador
Brazil vs. Argentina: The Buses
Around Brazil: Morro de São Paulo (& Itabuna)
Understanding Brazil: The Workmen
Around Brazil: Praa Pateo do Colegio
Around Brazil: Porto Seguro
Around Brazil: Rio de Janeiro to Porto Seguro
Around Brazil: Cristo Redentor
Understanding Brazil: The Sellers
Around Brazil: Ilha de Gigoia
Brazil Journeys: São Paulo to Rio de Janeiro
Understanding Brazil: Dogs Part 2
Brazil: A Lie-In in Downtown São Paulo?
The Best Job in Brazil: Ankle Specialist?
Understanding Brazil: Dogs
Brazilian Places: Ilha do Santa Catarina (Floripa)
Classic Brazilian Journeys: South to Florianopolis
Understanding Brazil – The Shower
Brazil: Boats on the Amazon
Brazil: Understanding Novelas
Brazil: Bus fires in São Paulo – always a bad thing?

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