Switzerland considers changing its national anthem as being too old-fashioned, so a new one will be chosen through a competition.
The priority is to have a new text, but contestants will also be free to compose a new tune, said project leader Lukas Niederberger.
The current text dates back to 1841 and includes references to God, prayer, mountains and sunshine.
The new text is to include values enshrined in the Swiss constitution, such as democracy and solidarity.
The competition will run from January to the end of June 2014, with the top prize – SFr10,000 ($10,745) – to be awarded in 2015.
The runners-up will get SFr5,000, SFr3,000 and SFr1,000. The competition is open to Swiss nationals and foreigners living in Switzerland.
The winning anthem will be presented to the government – the Federal Council – for approval.
The judging panel has just been selected. It has 25 members from various areas of national life, including football, the Olympics, music, literature and yodelling.
There are four jury presidents – Christine Beerli, Patrizia Pesenti, Pierre Kohler and Oscar Knapp – representing respectively the four official languages spoken in the federation: German, Italian, French and Romansch.
Switzerland considers its national anthem too old-fashioned and a new one will be chosen through a competition
The current anthem is called the Swiss Psalm. In 1981 it replaced Rufst du mein Vaterland (When you call, my Fatherland), which was set to the same tune as the British national anthem – God Save The Queen.
“The real problem is above all the text,” Lukas Niederberger said. He is in the Swiss Society for Public Utility (SGG), the competition organizer. The SGG, founded in 1810, seeks to promote Swiss values and has previously launched social and cultural initiatives.
“Officially the anthem is a psalm, a prayer, but of course we have an open society, religiously neutral. We have atheists, no single god, so this anthem is a difficulty,” he explained by phone.
Since the 1970s pressure for a new anthem has gained momentum, but previously the calls came from individuals or small groups, Lukas Niederberger said.
“Many people are conservative and the anthem is emotional, but if a composer creates a super song, then we can change the tune too. But that’s a bit difficult for conservative people, so we say the contestants don’t have to change the music,” he said.
The SGG says the preamble to the Swiss constitution “forms the textual basis for the new national anthem”.
It speaks of the Swiss people’s “striving… to strengthen their freedom and democracy, independence and peace in solidarity and openness to the world”. It also speaks of “living together in mutual consideration and respect for differences”.
In 2011 Switzerland’s Alpine neighbor Austria decided to change the wording of its national anthem to recognize its “great daughters” alongside its “great sons”.
It is a song as deeply embedded in the American national psyche as the Stars and Stripes themselves.
But it turns out The Star Spangled Banner is not about a violent and bloody battle 200 years ago… but about monkeys.
That’s if you believe the words of a 6-year-old boy and his friend who made the hilarious claim on a segment of Jimmy Kimmel’s hit television chat show. And he says it with such deadpan sincerity, it’s hard not to take his word for it.
The boys were among a group of children asked by the TV prankster if they knew the lyrics to the country’s national anthem.
And their answers are more than a little enlightening.
Children trying to explain the national anthem on Jimmy Kimmel
Asked if she could sing the song for the camera on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame, one of the girls says the second line actually means “we are proudly to all the states and the uniteds” while another reveals that the song’s real title is “Strong Singled Banner”.
And it wasn’t written by Francis Scott Key in 1814, but by legendary record producer Quincy Jones (though it’s not among the 27 Grammys he has won over the years).
Moments later, a girl reveals the War of Independence was really about gaining freedom from Canada before a young boy performs an interpretive dance while singing the anthem.
They gave the cute responses for a segment on the Jimmy KimmelLive show celebrating yesterday’s Independence Day.
The Star Spangled Banner was in fact based on the lyrics of a poem written by Francis Scott Key, after witnessing the bombardment of Fort McHenry by the British Royal Navy ships in Chesapeake Bay during the Battle of Fort McHenry in the War of 1812.
It was later made to fit the tune of popular melody The Anacreontic Song, by English composer John Stafford Smith and, in 1889, Secretary of the Navy Benjamin F. Tracy ruled that The Star-Spangled Banner be the official tune to be played at the raising of the flag.
Conflicting reports have emerged over whether Beyonce sang live the National Anthem at President Barack Obama’s inauguration.
A spokeswoman for the Marine Corp Band told The Times in a “last minute” decision, Beyonce opted to perform to a pre-recorded backing track.
However, the Marine Corp said “no-one in the Marine Band is in a position to assess whether it was live or pre-recorded”.
But it confirmed that the band itself was not playing live.
Millions of people tuned in to watch President Barack Obama be sworn in for his second term in office. The ceremony was punctuated by performances from James Taylor, Kelly Clarkson, as well as Beyonce, who sang the National Anthem.
When The Times reported that Beyonce had mimed, the story quickly travelled around the world.
The newspaper quoted a spokeswoman for the Marine Corp Band, Master Sergeant Kristin duBois, who said: “We pre-recorded all music as a matter of course and have done since time immemorial.
“This is our 54th inauguration… There is no question of there not being any music, it’s not because the performer cannot do it.”
However, the spokeswoman did not state outright that Beyonce mimed her part of the performance.
In a statement, the Marine Corp said: “There was no opportunity for Ms Knowles-Carter to rehearse with the Marine Band before the inauguration so it was determined that a live performance by the band was ill-advised for such a high-profile event.
“Each piece of music scheduled for performance in the Inauguration is pre-recorded for use in case of freezing temperatures, equipment failure, or extenuating circumstances.
“Regarding Ms Knowles-Carter’s vocal performance, no one in the Marine Band is in a position to assess whether it was live or pre-recorded.”
Conflicting reports have emerged over whether Beyonce sang live the National Anthem at President Barack Obama’s inauguration
Some reports suggested Beyonce had pre-recorded her vocal in a studio at the Marine Barracks Annex on Sunday night.
They were drawing inferences from a series of images posted on Beyonce’s website over the weekend – one of which showed her in the studio holding the sheet music for the Star Spangled Banner.
If the claims turned out to be true, they would not be without precedent.
In 2008, American cellist Yo Yo Ma mimed his performance at President Barack Obama’s first inauguration, saying the freezing temperatures and wind might have affected his instrument live.
Celebrities and fans have been debating Beyonce’s performance.
Soul legend Aretha Franklin, who also performed at the 2008 ceremony, said the star did “a beautiful job”, even if she was miming.
“When I heard the news this evening that she was pre-recorded I really laughed,” she told ABC News.
“I thought it was funny because the weather down there was about 46 or 44 degrees and for most singers that is just not good singing weather.
“But she did a beautiful job with the pre-record… Next time I’ll probably do the same.”
On Twitter, TV presenter Piers Morgan said: “Beyonce still SANG it, everyone. It was HER voice.”
Brooklyn band Prince Rama commented: “I actually think Beyonce lip-syncing the national anthem is one of the best conceptual art pieces I’ve seen in a long time.”
While Los Angeles musician Michael Anthony defended the star, saying: “It doesn’t even look like Beyonce was lip syncing at all.”
A blog post on the Washington Times website said: “Some Beyonce fans insist it looked real, especially when she ripped out her earpiece midway through the song.”
Kazakhstan’s shooting team has been left stunned after Borat spoof anthem was played during a medal ceremony at the 10th Arab Shooting Competition in Kuwait instead of the real one.
Kazakh team asked for an apology and the medal ceremony was later rerun.
The team’s coach told Kazakh media the organizers had downloaded the parody from the internet by mistake.
The song was produced by British comedian Sacha Baron Cohen for Borat movie, which shows Kazakhs as backward and bigoted.
Footage of Thursday’s original ceremony posted on YouTube shows gold medalist Maria Dmitrienko listening to the anthem without emotion and finally smiling as it ends.
Kazakh gold medalist Maria Dmitrienko listened to the Borat anthem without emotion and finally smiling as it ends
Coach Anvar Yunusmetov told Kazakh news agency Tengrinews that the tournament’s organizers had also got the Serbian national anthem wrong.
“Then Maria Dmitrienko’s turn came,” Anvar Yunusmetov said.
“She got up on to the pedestal and they played a completely different anthem, offensive to Kazakhstan.”
The spoof song praises Kazakhstan for its superior potassium exports and for having the cleanest prostitutes in the region.
The film Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan, released in 2006, follows Sacha Baron Cohen’s character, the journalist Borat Sagdiyev, as he travels to the US and pursues the actress Pamela Anderson.
The film outraged people in Kazakhstan and was eventually banned in the country. The government also threatened Sacha Baron Cohen with legal action.
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