Singers performed a Spanish-language version of the national anthem at Ellis Island, once the gateway to America for more than 12 million immigrants.
With the Manhattan skyline behind them, Tony Sunshine and others sang “Nuestro Himno,” which created a public backlash in April and led President Bush to declare “the national anthem ought to be sung in English.”
About 100 people, mostly journalists and members of the music industry, attended the presentation Tuesday of the album “Somos Americanos (We Are Americans),” which features “Nuestro Himno” and other Spanish-language songs about the immigrant experience.
“We want to broadcast the anthem with patriotism, love and respect”, music producer Eduardo Reyes said.
At least one version contains lines in English that condemn U.S. immigration laws, but Reyes said the Spanish lyrics are the same as on a Congress Web site. The Spanish version of “The Star Spangled Banner” was translated by Francis Haffkine Snow in 1919 in response to a Capitol Hill request, he said.
Adam Kidron, president of Urban Box Office Inc., which produced the album, said he hoped the song would be become the anthem of recent pro-immigrant protests. Despite the publicity, it has gotten little radio play, though.
Kidron said his company will donate a dollar from the sale of each album to the National Capital Immigration Coalition and the Latin War Veterans.
A video of “Nuestro Himno” was also unveiled Tuesday.