Bella Ciao Cover


Bella Ciao

Many THANKS to PAUL ALEXOPOULOS for requesting this song <3

Working with Ramiro is just great. He’s one of my favs. He’s a naturally suave, can play anything kind of musician. When I considered how I wanted to present “Bella Ciao,” I knew I wanted the instrumentation to reflect the song’s origins as well as the language. Naturally, I called Ramiro. “…Can you play mandolin? But of course you can!” He’s reliably perfect. What I didn’t realize I would enjoy so much was the vibe that the space we were working in lent to the recording. It’s just a cramped space in an old, well-lived-in house, but it felt like the sort of grassroots environment in which “Bella Ciao” might first have come to prominence.

If you’re American, you may not have heard “Bella Ciao” before this cover. I was first introduced to the tune in college. I took a couple Introduction to Italian Language courses, and considering everything that the prof probably had to narrow it down from to synthesize an entire culture, I ought to have realized then that “Bella Ciao” was pretty important. But when a patron requested a cover of it, I was surprised that this song was coming across my radar once more. I did a little research, and it’s a compelling song with a meaningful history.

The lyrics are of unknown origin, and the melody is coopted from an old Italian folk song. It’s historical significance stems from it’s adoption by Italian partisans (anti-fascism fighters) during WWII. Since then it has been recognized internationally as a freedom hymn, and has been intoned at many historic and revolutionary events. The song has been translated into many languages and adopted by resistors of tyranny from many times and places. …With an admitted Nazi running for office with the Republican Party’s endorsement, perhaps it is time for another revival.

English Translation

Bella Ciao (Goodbye, Beautiful)

This morning I awakened
Bella Ciao Bella Ciao Bella Ciao Ciao Ciao
This morning I awakened
And I found the invader

Oh partisan carry me away
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
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
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
Bella Ciao Bella Ciao Bella Ciao Ciao Ciao
And all those who shall pass
Will tell you what a beautiful flower it is

This is the flower of the partisan
Bella Ciao Bella Ciao Bella Ciao Ciao Ciao
This is the flower of the partisan
Who died for Freedom
This is the flower of the partisan
Who died for Freedom


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