Le Lion rouge: The national anthem of Senegal

Le Lion Rouge or “The Red Lion,” also known as “Everyone strum your koras, strike the balafons,” is the national anthem of Senegal. It was officially adopted in 1960. The lyrics were penned by Léopold Sédar Senghor, who served as Senegal’s first president. The music was composed by Herbert Pepper, a French composer who also crafted the national anthem of the Central African Republic, “La Renaissance.” The kora, a type of harp, and the balafon, a wooden xylophone, are integral Senegalese musical instruments featured in the anthem.


National anthem of Senegal
Also known as“Pincez tous vos koras, frappez les balafons” (English: “Everyone strum your koras, strike the balafons”)
LyricsLéopold Sédar Senghor, 1960
MusicHerbert Pepper, 1960

French Version (Original)

1er couplet :

Pincez tous vos koras, frappez les balafons.
Le lion rouge a rugi.
Le dompteur de la brousse
D'un bond s'est élancé,
Dissipant les ténèbres.
Soleil sur nos terreurs, soleil sur notre espoir.
Debout, frères, voici l'Afrique rassemblée

Refrain :

Fibres de mon cœur vert.
Épaule contre épaule, mes plus que frères,
O Sénégalais, debout !
Unissons la mer et les sources, unissons la steppe et la forêt !
Salut Afrique mère.

2e couplet :

Sénégal toi le fils de l'écume du lion,
Toi surgi de la nuit au galop des chevaux,
Rend-nous, oh ! rends-nous l'honneur de nos ancêtres,
Splendides comme ébène et forts comme le muscle
Nous disons droits - l'épée n'a pas une bavure.


3e couplet :

Sénégal, nous faisons nôtre ton grand dessein :
Rassembler les poussins à l'abri des milans
Pour en faire, de l'est à l'ouest, du nord au sud,
Dressé, un même peuple, un peuple sans couture
Mais un peuple tourné vers tous les vents du monde.


4e couplet :

Sénégal, comme toi, comme tous nos héros,
Nous serons durs sans haine et des deux bras ouverts.
L'épée, nous la mettrons dans la paix du fourreau,
Car le travail sera notre arme et la parole.
Le Bantou est un frère, et l'Arabe et le Blanc.


5e couplet :

Mais que si l'ennemi incendie nos frontières
Nous serons tous dressés et les armes au poing :
Un peuple dans sa foi défiant tous les malheurs,
Les jeunes et les vieux, les hommes et les femmes.
La mort, oui ! Nous disons la mort, mais pas la honte.


English translation

1st  Verse

Everybody, strum your koras, beat your balafons
The Red Lion has roared.
The tamer of the bushland,
Has leapt forth in a single bound,
Dispelling the darkness.
Sun upon our fears, Sun upon our hopes.
Rise, brothers, for Africa has united.

Fibers of my green heart.
Shoulder to shoulder, my more-than-brothers,
Senegalese people, rise!
Let’s unite seas and rivers, let’s unite steppes and forests!
We salute you, mother Africa.

2nd Verse

Senegal, son of the lion’s foam,
You who have surged from the night to the gallop of horses,
Return to us, oh! Return to us the pride of our ancestors,
Splendid as ebony and strong as muscle
Upright, we say – the sword has no burr.


3rd Verse

Senegal, we make ours your great scheme:
Give a shelter to the chicks to keep the kites away
To make out of it, from East to West and from North to South,
a people, standing as one man, a people seamlessly united,
But a people looking to all the winds of the world.


4th Verse

Senegal, just like you, like all our heroes,
We will be strict, without hatred and with our two arms open.
The sword shall remain in peace in its sheath,
Because labor will be our weapon along with our voice.
The Bantu is our brother, as is the Arab and the White man.


5th Verse

But should the enemy set our borders aflame,
We will rise, arms in hand:
One people, in its faith, defying all sorrows,
Young and old, men and women.
Death, yes! We say yes to death, but not to disgrace.


Subscribe to our Newsletter

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Adblock Detected

Hello, Our system has detected that you are using Adblocker while acessing this website. Kindly disable it to support us.