Bella ciao

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"Bella ciao"
Song
Language Italian
English title "Goodbye beautiful"

"Bella ciao" is an Italian folk song, and later an anti-fascist resistance song. It was used by the Italian partisans during the Italian Civil War between 1943 and 1945 in their struggle against the fascist Italian Social Republic and its Nazi German allies. It is used worldwide as an anti-fascist hymn of freedom and resistance. The song has much older origins though in the hardships of the mondina women, the paddy field workers in the late 19th century who sang it as a protest against harsh working conditions in the paddy fields in North Italy.

History[edit]

"Bella ciao" was originally sung as "Alla mattina appena alzata" by seasonal worker of paddy fields of rice, especially in Italy's Po Valley from the late 19th century to the first half of the 20th century with different lyrics.[1] The work of monda (weeding) was widespread in northern Italy in that era. The work consisted of removing the weeds growing in rice fields that hindered the healthy growth of young rice plants. It took place during the flooding of the fields, from the end of April to the beginning of June every year, during which the delicate shoots needed to be protected, during their first stages of their development, from temperature differences between the day and the night. It consisted of two phases: transplanting the plants and pruning the weeds. The work of monda was an extremely tiring task, carried out mostly by women known as mondinas (rice-weeders) that came of the poorest social classes. The workers would spend their workdays with their bare feet in water up to their knees and their back bent for many hours. The atrocious working conditions, long hours and very low pay led to constant dissatisfaction and led, at times to rebellious movements and riots in the early years of the twentieth century. The struggles against the supervising padroni was even harder with the abundance of clandestine workers ready to compromise even further the already low wages just to get work. Besides "Bella ciao", similar songs by the mondina women included "Sciur padrun da li beli braghi bianchi" and "Se otto ore vi sembran poche".

Other similar versions of the antecedents of "Bella ciao" appeared over the years, indicating that "Alla mattina appena alzata" must have been composed in the later half of the 19th century.[2] The earliest written version is dated 1906 and comes from near Vercelli, Piedmont.[3]

"Bella ciao" was revived by the anti-fascist resistance movement active in Italy between 1943 and 1945 with different lyrics of resistance.[4] The author of the lyrics is unknown.

Melody[edit]

Italian folksinger Giovanna Daffini recorded the song in 1962.[5] The music is in quadruple meter.


\relative c'  {
  \language "deutsch"
  \autoBeamOff
  \clef treble
  \key f \major
  \partial 4. a8 d e
  f8 d4.~ d8 a d e
  f8 d4.~ d8 a d e
  f4 e8 d f4 e8 d
  a'4 a a8 a g a
  b b4.~ b8 b a g
  b a4.~ a8 a g f
  e4 a f e
  d2 r8
  \bar "|."
}
\addlyrics {
  U -- na mat -- ti -- na __
  mi son sve -- glia -- to,
  o bel -- la ciao, bel -- la ciao,
  bel -- la ciao ciao ciao,
  u -- na mat -- ti -- na mi son sve -- glia -- to,
  e ho tro -- va -- to l'in -- va -- sor.
}

Lyrics[edit]

Mondine version[edit]

Italian lyrics[6] English translation

Alla mattina appena alzata
o bella ciao bella ciao bella ciao, ciao, ciao
alla mattina appena alzata
in risaia mi tocca andar.

E fra gli insetti e le zanzare
o bella ciao bella ciao bella ciao ciao ciao
e fra gli insetti e le zanzare
un dur lavoro mi tocca far.

Il capo in piedi col suo bastone
o bella ciao bella ciao bella ciao ciao ciao
il capo in piedi col suo bastone
e noi curve a lavorar.

O mamma mia o che tormento
o bella ciao bella ciao bella ciao ciao ciao
o mamma mia o che tormento
io t'invoco ogni doman.

Ed ogni ora che qui passiamo
o bella ciao bella ciao bella ciao ciao ciao
ed ogni ora che qui passiamo
noi perdiam la gioventù.

Ma verrà un giorno che tutte quante
o bella ciao bella ciao bella ciao ciao ciao
ma verrà un giorno che tutte quante
lavoreremo in libertà.

In the morning I got up
oh bella ciao, bella ciao, bella ciao, ciao, ciao (Goodbye beautiful)
In the morning I got up
To the paddy rice fields, I have to go.

And between insects and mosquitoes
oh bella ciao, bella ciao, bella ciao, ciao, ciao
and between insects and mosquitoes
a hard work I have to work.

The boss is standing with his cane
oh bella ciao, bella ciao, bella ciao, ciao, ciao
the boss is standing with his cane
and we work with our backs curved.

Oh my mother, what a torment
oh bella ciao, bella ciao, bella ciao, ciao, ciao
oh my mother, what a torment
as I call you every morning.

And every hour that we pass here
oh bella ciao, bella ciao, bella ciao, ciao, ciao
and every hour that we pass here
we lose our youth.

But the day will come when us all
oh bella ciao, bella ciao, bella ciao, ciao, ciao
but the day will come when us all
will work in freedom.

Partisan version[edit]

Italian lyrics[7] English translation

Una mattina mi son svegliato,
o bella ciao, bella ciao, bella ciao ciao ciao!
Una mattina mi son svegliato
e ho trovato l'invasor.

O partigiano portami via,
o bella ciao, bella ciao, bella ciao ciao ciao
o partigiano portami via
che mi sento di morir.

E se io muoio da partigiano,
o bella ciao, bella ciao, bella ciao ciao ciao,
e se io muoio da partigiano
tu mi devi seppellir.

Seppellire lassù in montagna,
o bella ciao, bella ciao, bella ciao ciao ciao,
seppellire lassù in montagna
sotto l'ombra di un bel fior.

E le genti che passeranno,
o bella ciao, bella ciao, bella ciao ciao ciao,
e le genti che passeranno
mi diranno «che bel fior.»

Questo è il fiore del partigiano,
o bella ciao, bella ciao, bella ciao ciao ciao,
questo è il fiore del partigiano
morto per la libertà

One morning I awakened,
oh bella ciao, bella ciao, bella ciao, ciao, ciao! (Goodbye beautiful)
One morning I awakened
And I found the invader.

Oh partisan carry me away,
oh bella ciao, bella ciao, bella ciao, ciao, ciao
oh partisan carry me away
Because I feel death approaching.

And if I die as a partisan,
oh bella ciao, bella ciao, bella ciao, ciao, ciao
and if I die as a partisan
then you must bury me.

Bury me up in the mountain,
oh bella ciao, bella ciao, bella ciao, ciao, ciao
bury me up in the mountain
under the shade of a beautiful flower.

And all those who shall pass,
oh bella ciao, bella ciao, bella ciao, ciao, ciao
and all those who shall pass
will tell me "what a beautiful flower."

This is the flower of the partisan,
oh bella ciao, bella ciao, bella ciao, ciao, ciao
this is the flower of the partisan
who died for freedom

Recordings[edit]

One of the most famous recordings is that of the Italian folk singer Giovanna Daffini who recorded both the mondina and the partisan versions. It appears in her 1975 album Amore mio non piangere. A great number of artists have recorded the song including Herbert Pagani, Mary Hopkin, Sandie Shaw, Manu Chao and many more.

International versions[edit]

In addition to the original Italian, the song has been recorded by various artists in many different languages, including Arabic, Bosnian, Breton, Catalan, Chinese (known as "啊朋友再见"), Croatian, Danish, English, Esperanto, Finnish, German, Hungarian, Japanese, Persian, Kurdish, Norwegian, Occitan, Russian, Serbian, Slovenian, Spanish, Syriac, Tagalog, Telugu, Thai, Tibetan, Turkish, and Ukrainian.[citation needed]

  • Azerbaijani Soviet singer Muslim Magomayev performed the song at some of his concerts and he stated that it was Brezhnev's favorite by him.[15][16]
  • A rewritten version of the song can be heard on Chumbawamba's acoustic album A Singsong and a Scrap.
  • Another version of the song was recorded by the punk rock band Dog Faced Hermans[17] on their album, Every Day Time Bomb.
  • Former Yugoslav punk rock bands KUD Idijoti and later Goblini recorded their versions of the track.
  • Hungarian punk rock band Aurora has performed the song.
  • Folk musician Leslie Fish has written and performed several versions of the song, one of which can be found on the album Smoked Fish.
  • Folk artist Mirah lent her voice to this song on her 2004 album, To All We Stretch the Open Arm.
  • Anita Lane recorded a version in English for her 2001 album, Sex O'Clock.
  • Breton folk punk band Les Ramoneurs de menhirs recorded a version in Breton and French but called it "BellARB".
  • Danish psychedelic rock group Savage Rose have recorded a version of this song on the albums En Vugge Af Stål from 1982 and Ild Og Frihed (1989).
  • San Francisco punk band La Plebe perform "Bella Ciao" on their album, Brazo en Brazo.
  • French-born musician of Spanish origin Manu Chao has also recorded a version of the song.
  • Kurdish singer Ciwan Haco has included the song in his album Çaw Bella 1989 – Bochum – Germany.[18]
  • Kurdish music band Koma Dengê Azadî has also included the song with a different style in their album Çaw Bella 1991 – Istanbul – Turkey. The song was revived during ISIS attack on Kobane 2014.[19]
  • The tune has been used in a song in the Indian Tollywood movie Businessman, starring Mahesh Babu, Music by S.S.Thaman.
  • Italian ska punk band Talco recorded the song on their 2006 album Combat Circus.
  • Konstantin Wecker and Hannes Wader, two German "Liedermacher" performed it live on their collaboration album Was für eine Nacht.
  • Turkish band Grup Yorum have recorded a Turkish translation of the song on their 1987 album Haziranda Ölmek Zor / Berivan.
  • Turkish band Bandista has recorded a Turkish version, "Hoşçakal", on their album Daima!, in 2011.[20]
  • Yugoslav musician Goran Bregovic has recorded one version on his album Champagne for Gypsies (2012).[21]
  • German folk duo Zupfgeigenhansel recorded a free adaptation on their 1982 album Miteinander[22] that, instead of glorifying the death of the partisan, paints him as a reluctant anti-hero who is scared and despises war, but feels he has no other choice because of the atrocities he has seen.[23]
  • Thai anti-fascism band, "Faiyen" (ไฟเย็น, "Cold Flame") recorded a Thai version of the song called "Plodploy Plianplaeng" (Thai: ปลดปล่อย เปลี่ยนแปลง, "Liberate and Change").[24] It has been used by the Red Shirts anti-fascism group since 2011.
  • Spanish punk rock band boikot recorded a modified version in Spanish.
  • An a cappela version was recorded by the Swingle Singers in 1991 on their album "Folk Music Around The World"[25]
  • Belarusian folk punk band Dzieciuki recorded a modified version in Belarusian under the name "Трымайся, браце!" ("Hold fast, brother!")
  • Syriac (Aramaic) version created by Beith Souryoye Morounoye under the name "foosh bashlom (Bella ciao)" [26]
  • Patric recorded Bèla Ciaò, a version in Occitan for his 2010 album, Colors.
  • Mike Singer recorded an Electro dance version in June 2018.

In popular culture[edit]

As an internationally known hymn of freedom, it was intoned at many historic and revolutionary events. The song originally aligned itself with Italian partisans fighting against Nazi German occupation troops, but by now it merely stands for the inherent rights of all people to be liberated from tyranny.[27][28] The song was a crowd favorite at Romano's Macaroni Grill when it hired opera singers as waiters. The singer would usually stand on a chair and sing while the audience claps along feverishly, with the tempo increasing gradually.[29]

In 2012 the melody of "Bella ciao" has also been adopted with adapted lyrics as a worldwide environmental activist song ("Do it now"), demanding political action against global warming.[30][31]

In April 2018, supporters from the Portuguese soccer club F.C. Porto adapted the song with the lyrics "Penta Xau" ("Bye bye fifth"), referring to the lost opportunity by rival club S.L. Benfica to win a fifth national championship in a row, a feat only F.C. Porto has achieved in the country.[32]

The song was also adapted by Brazilian fans during World Cup 2018 to tease and taunt Argentina about their possible exit in the first round, which eventually did not occur, with references to Argentinian players Di María, Mascherano, and Messi (Brazil and Argentina have a well-known football rivalry).[33]

Filmography[edit]

"Bella Ciao" has been used many times in soundtracks of films. Of those, we can mention:

Renewed popularity with Money Heist[edit]

"Bella ciao" is sung multiple times throughout the Spanish television series Money Heist.[34] The character Tokyo recounts in one of her narrations, "The life of El Profesor revolved around a single idea: Resistance. His grandfather, who had fought against the fascists in Italy, taught him the song and he taught us."[34] The song is also played in other emblematic moments in the series as a metaphor for freedom.[34]

As a result of the popularity of the series and its characters El Profesor and Berlin singing the tune, there was a flood of releases in 2018:

  • El Profesor & Berlin original version from the series
  • "Bella ciao (Hugel Remix)" using the rendition of El Profesor
  • Separate versions by The Bear, by Sound of Legend and by Manu Pilas.
  • Rapper Rémy sampled the song in a rap freestyle version
  • New brazilian bass version of the song by Alok, Bhaskar, Jetlag Music, André Sarate and Adolfo Celdran
  • On 18 May 2018, a completely revamped French version with new French-language lyrics keeping a few lines in Italian was released by Maître Gims, Vitaa, Dadju, Slimane and Naestro. The version topped SNEP, the official French Singles Chart.
  • In June 2018, the German pop singer Mike Singer released his own version that charted on the German Singles Chart.

Chart positions (2018)

Date Title Performer(s) Charts
FRA
AUT
BEL
(Fl)

BEL
(Wa)

GER NLD SWI
14 April 2018 Bella Ciao (La Casa de Papel Remix) Meder
14 April 2018 Bella Ciao Bella Ciao 119
14 April 2018 Bella Ciao The Bear 45
14 April 2018 Bella Ciao (1995 version) Thomas Fersen 153
14 April 2018 Bella Ciao Red Army Choir (Les Chœurs de l'Armée rouge) 147
21 April 2018 Bella Ciao Sound of Legend 29
21 April 2018 Bella Ciao (Hugel Remix) El Profesor 11 16 13 4
(Ultratip)
3 87
28 April 2018 Bella Ciao Ska J 159
5 May 2018 Bella Ciao Manu Pilas 27
12 May 2018 Bella Ciao Rémy 66 Tip
12 May 2018 Bella Ciao El Profesor & Berlin 4 35 21
(Ultratip)
19 May 2018 Bella Ciao Naestro, Maître Gims, Vitaa, Dadju, Slimane 1 13 57
25 May 2018 Bella Ciao Young Ellens 54
29 June 2018 Bella Ciao Mike Singer 59 44 80

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ SILVERMAN, JERRY (25 February 2011). "Songs That Made History Around the World". Mel Bay Publications – via Google Books. 
  2. ^ Bermani, Cesare (2003). "Guerra guerra ai palazzi e alle chiese". Odradek Edizioni. 
  3. ^ D. Massa, R. Palazzi and S. Vittone: Riseri d'al me coeur
  4. ^ Marchenkov, Vladimir L. (26 June 2014). "Arts and Terror". Cambridge Scholars Publishing – via Google Books. 
  5. ^ Recording made by musicologists Gianni Bosio and Roberto Leydi in 1962. Giovanna Daffini: "Alla mattina appena alzata", from the CD: Giovanna Daffini: L’amata genitrice (1991)
  6. ^ "Bella Ciao (delle Mondine)". www.antiwarsongs.org. 
  7. ^ "UNA DICHIARAZIONE D'AMORE" (PDF). ANPI. 
  8. ^ "Bella Ciao - Modena City Ramblers". 
  9. ^ "Banda Bassotti - Bella Ciao". 
  10. ^ "Bella Ciao - La Casa de Papel (Thomas Fersen) Letra". 
  11. ^ "Diego Moreno Bella Ciao (Bella Chao)". YouTube.com. 
  12. ^ "Red Army Choir: Bella Ciao". 
  13. ^ "Talco - Bella Ciao". 
  14. ^ "Goran Bregovic - Bella Ciao - ( LIVE ) Paris 2013". 
  15. ^ Magomayev interview at "Russian Week", 2005.
  16. ^ "Bella Ciao - Muslim Magomaev". YouTube. 2008-10-03. Retrieved 2014-05-07. 
  17. ^ "Dog Faced Hermans". Pyduc.com. 2010-05-27. Retrieved 2014-05-07. 
  18. ^ "Çaw Bella". Ciwan Haco. Retrieved 2014-05-07. 
  19. ^ "Çaw Bella (ji bo kobanê)- Ciao Bella for Kobani - Ciao Bella para Kobanê". Retrieved 2017-05-22. 
  20. ^ "Bandista". Tayfabandista.org. Retrieved 2014-05-07. 
  21. ^ Goran Bregovic - Official Website - Beta Archived 8 March 2013 at the Wayback Machine.
  22. ^ "Zupfgeigenhansel - Miteinander (Vinyl, LP, Album) at Discogs". Discogs.com. Retrieved 2014-05-07. 
  23. ^ "Canzoni contro la guerra - Bella Ciao". Antiwarsongs.org. Retrieved 2014-05-07. 
  24. ^ "ปลดปล่อย..เปลี่ยนแปลง". Youtube. 8 May 2011. Retrieved 9 November 2014. 
  25. ^ The Swingle Singers* - Around The World - Folk Music - An A Cappela Song Collection (CD, Album) at Discogs
  26. ^ Beith Souryoye Morounoye (4 May 2018). "foosh bashlom (Bella ciao) - Musical - Lyrics in Syriac (Aramaic) w/English" – via YouTube. 
  27. ^ http://pstream.lastampa.it.dl1.ipercast.net/lastampa/2015/01/23/d37A1QUG.mp4
  28. ^ "Non solo Tsipras: «Bella ciao» cantata in tutte le lingue del mondo Guarda il video - Corriere TV". video.corriere.it. 
  29. ^ Google, retrieved 2016-12-25 
  30. ^ "Sing for the climate - Because we must raise our voices NOW". Sing for the Climate. 
  31. ^ www11be (20 August 2012). "Sing for the Climate : Do it Now - De Clip" – via YouTube. 
  32. ^ Ferreira, Marta Leite. "Com raízes na Alemanha, esta é a origem do novo cântico do FC Porto". Observador. 
  33. ^ "Brasileños adaptan 'Bella ciao' para burlarse y 'despedir' a Messi" (in Portugues). msn.om. 22 June 2018. 
  34. ^ a b c ""Bella Ciao": música em "La Casa de Papel" é antiga, mas tem TUDO a ver com a série" (in Portuguese). 19 February 2018. 

External links[edit]