Saturday, 25 October 2014  -  01 Muharram 1436 H

Swiss try to yodel up a groovier national anthem

GENEVA — More than 200 songwriters have entered a contest to change Switzerland’s national anthem, organisers who want to bin the less than rousing current version said on Monday. Lukas Niederberger, director of the Swiss Society for Public Good, said that 215 entries had submitted to replace “The Swiss Psalm”, which critics liken to a weather forecast crossed with a religious hymn, given its repeated references to God and Alpine vistas. The song has only been the country’s official anthem since 1981, when it replaced another anthem set, rather confusingly, to the tune of Britain’s “God Save The Queen”. Niederberger said a total of 129 entries for a new anthem were received in German -- the majority language in the nation of eight million people -- and 69 in its second tongue, French. Italian-speakers, the third-largest group in Switzerland, submitted seven, while 10 were written in the country’s fourth official langue, Rumantsch, used by only a few thousand Swiss. A jury made up of politicians, musicians, journalists and members of yodel clubs, choirs and sports associations will be tasked with picking the 10 best entries, which will be posted online next year so that the public can pick their top three. — AFP

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