Bella ciao

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"Bella ciao"
English title Goodbye Beautiful!
Writer(s) Traditional
Language Italian

"Bella ciao" is an Italian partisan song which originated during the Italian civil war. It is used worldwide as a hymn of freedom and resistance.


"Bella ciao" was sung by the anti-fascist resistance movement active in Italy between 1943 and 1945.[1] The author of the lyrics is unknown; the music and spirit of the song is based on a folk song sung by rice-weeders on the River Po basin in the early part of the 20th century – "Alla mattina appena alzata".[2] A version of this song was recorded for music researchers by Italian folk singer Giovanna Daffini in 1962.[3] 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 latter half of the 19th century.[4] The earliest written version is dated 1906 and comes from near Vercelli, Piedmont.[5]

International versions[edit]

In addition to the original Italian, the song has been recorded by various artists in many different languages, including Breton, Catalan, Chinese, Croatian, Danish, English, Esperanto, Finnish, German, Hungarian, Japanese, Persian, Kurdish, Norwegian, Russian, Serbian, Slovenian, Spanish, 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.[6][7]
  • 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[8] 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.
  • filk 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.
  • Singer 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.[9]
  • 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
  • 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.[10]
  • Bosnian musician Goran Bregovic has recorded one version on his album Champagne for Gypsies (2012).[11]
  • German folk duo Zupfgeigenhansel recorded a free adaption on their 1982 album Miteinander[12] 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.[13]
  • Spanish punk rock band boikot recorded a modified version in Spanish.
  • Irish band Cula Bula recorded an Irish language version on their 2016 album "Is It?"
  • An a cappela version was recorded by the Swingle Singers in 1991 on their album "Folk Music Around The World"[14]
  • Barbez covered the song on their 2013 album, "Bella Ciao."

Recent use[edit]

As a hymn of freedom internationally known it was intoned at many historic and revolutionary events. The song does not have a political alignment, but merely stands for the inherent freedom of all men to be liberated from Tyranny. The song is used as a crowd favorite at Romano's Macaroni Grill. The singer at the restaurant will usually stand on a chair and sing while the audience claps along feverishly, with the tempo increasing gradually. [15][16]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ [2]
  3. ^ 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)
  4. ^ Bermani, Cesare (2003). "Guerra guerra ai palazzi e alle chiese". Odradek Edizioni. 
  5. ^ D. Massa, R. Palazzi and S. Vittone: Riseri d'al me coeur
  6. ^ Magomayev interview at "Russian Week", 2005.
  7. ^ "Bella Ciao - Muslim Magomaev". YouTube. 2008-10-03. Retrieved 2014-05-07. 
  8. ^ "Dog Faced Hermans". 2010-05-27. Retrieved 2014-05-07. 
  9. ^ "Çaw Bella". Ciwan Haco. Retrieved 2014-05-07. 
  10. ^ "Bandista". Retrieved 2014-05-07. 
  11. ^ [3] Archived 8 March 2013 at the Wayback Machine.
  12. ^ "Zupfgeigenhansel - Miteinander (Vinyl, LP, Album) at Discogs". Retrieved 2014-05-07. 
  13. ^ "Canzoni contro la guerra - Bella Ciao". Retrieved 2014-05-07. 
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^


External links[edit]