Bangladesh anthem makes music at Beijing

August 13th, 2008 - 1:10 pm ICT by IANS  

Dhaka, Aug 13 (IANS) Bangladesh has bagged a silver on the sidelines of the Beijing Olympics - not for a sporting event but for its national anthem written by Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore. Bangladesh may not have the chance to win any medal in the ongoing Olympics, New Age newspaper said Wednesday, but the country “has already won unexpected recognition for its national anthem that was played in the opening ceremony”.

Alex Marshall, a freelance journalist specialising in music, tracked down every one of the 205 national anthems that might be heard at this year’s Olympic Games, and sat through four-and-a-half hours of listening to them before ranking them by musical quality.

Marshall’s choice of best 10 national anthems that could make their countries proud has Bangladesh coming second after Uruguay.

“A wonderful anthem that sounds like it was written for a stroll along the Seine,” said Marshal about Bangladesh’s “Amar Sonar Bangla” while delivering his verdict.

Indian national anthem, also written by Tagore, “Jana Gana Mana”, came in for evaluation too.

Marshal said most of the national anthems in the world were tedious and only about a dozen of them were musically worth listening to.

He has sought to compare the countries’ anthems musically. “There is no other fair way to compareā€¦ National anthems are the same the world over - a short, classical piece meant to stir up pride.”

The national anthems of Uruguay, Bangladesh and Tajikistan shared the top three honours in his list while Mauritania, Dominica, US Virgin Isles, Senegal, Nigeria, Nepal and Japan made it to the top 10.

“After listening to 205 of them I have realised there are actually just two types of anthems: the perfunctory, lifeless ones, and those that make the effort to be different. It’s a shame that 190 fall into the first group,” said Marshall.

Although Bangladesh, none of whose six athletes competing at the Games qualified, “have no chance of winning a medal, they should be cheered for their music”, he added.

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