The March of Zacatecas

The Second National Anthem

He is described as a "small man with a body, slow gestures, cropped hair, thick myopic lenses and thick mustaches". It is said, in addition, that he was shy and of little conversation. In his childhood he was a coiner of trade. He was born on September 10, 1852, in Zacatecas. His name: Genaro Codina.

Apart from the fact that he directed the manufacture of fireworks that were burned each year in the Patriotic Festivities of his city, what else should we know about this character?

Well he is none other than the composer of the famous March of Zacatecas, considered the second anthem of Mexico. In addition to rockerer, he was an inspired composer and musician who mastered more than ten instruments. His favorite was the harp.

He had little academic musical preparation, but his biography says that he possessed a rare musical inspiration full of delicacy. Composed not on the piano or guitar, but on a simple harp without pedals. Thus he composed numerous marches, chotis, mazurkas, polkas, waltzes and dances.

And of all these pieces the most famous without a doubt, is the March of Zacatecas, which at the beginning was called "March Aréchiga" in honor of the then governor of Zacatecas, Jesús Aréchiga. It is said that the president himself asked Codina to desist to title her with his name and suggested the title "Marcha de Zacatecas", as it is now popularly known.

The anecdote that marks the history of the composition of this march indicates that it was the result of a long confrontation between the musical egos of Genaro Codina and Fernando Villalpando, two of the best known Zacatecan musicians of the late nineteenth century.

It is said that one day they were challenged to see who composed the best march and, even before several witnesses, they promised to baptize the composition as "March of Zacatecas" and would dedicate it to the governor of the state, Jesús Aréchiga.

A day was set for the presentation of each work in competition. It would be the common friends themselves who would decide which one was the best. A chronicle then follows:

"Villalpando led a beautiful march. Although devoid of courage and courage, everyone liked it when they heard it; but when Codina played his on the harp, the excitement overwhelmed the friends who declared that this was the best march they had ever heard"...

The "March of Zacatecas" was played for the first time in public in 1893 with the instrumentation of Fernando Villalpando, and would become over the years the emblematic music of the state of Zacatecas. In addition, it was one of the most representative pieces of the revolutionary armies from 1910, especially from the Division del Norte, headed by Francisco Villa.

Its lyrics are, like many other martial marches, a cry for war and patriotism.

Be prepared to fight. / Hear it, it calls, the clarion sounds, / Get the weapons ready soon / to dispute the victory. / Be prepared, the clarion sounds, / Announce already next fight, / Vibrating its clamour is / Let's march with courage.

The March of Zacatecas

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