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LISTEN: Johnoy Danao performs Tagalog version of ‘Bella Ciao’

/ 12:57 PM June 18, 2020
Johnoy Danao

Image: screengrab from Instagram/@johnoydanao

Singer-songwriter Johnoy Danao performed a Tagalog version of the Italian protest folk song “Bella Ciao”, translated by the late revolutionary poet Romulo “Mulong” Sandoval.

Danao, who is among the local entertainers who are vocal on socio-political issues, shared with fans his performance of the century-old song through his official YouTube account yesterday, June 17.

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In a snippet of the video he posted on Twitter on the same day, the singer noted, “Mabuhay ang hustisya. Mabuhay ang demokrasya. Mabuhay ang karapatang pantao.” (Long live justice. Long live democracy. Long live human rights.)

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Popularized in recent times by the Spanish series “La Casa de Papel” or “Money Heist”, the origins of “Bella Ciao” (“Goodbye, Beautiful”) date back to the late 19th century.

The folk song originated from the mondina women, the paddy workers in northern Italy who turned to music to lament harsh working conditions, according to musician Jerry Silverman’s book “Songs That Made History Around the World”.

During World War II, the song became an anthem for the anti-fascist resistance movement of Italian partisans, who rose against the dictator Benito Mussolini and the Nazi occupation.

Sandoval’s Tagalog translation was based on the partisan version of “Bella Ciao”.

“Isang umaga, napakaaga / Bella Ciao, bella ciao, bella ciao, ciao, ciao / Isang umaga nakaengkwentro ng pasistang sundalo,” the Tagalog version starts off, retaining the iconic Italian phrase.

Danao noted that this is Sandoval’s final translation of the song after it went through the Galian sa Arte at Tula workshop and was first performed during the “Dingas” European tour of Susan Fernandez, Jess Santiago and Pol Galang through a script written by Reuel Aguila in the 1980s. JB

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TAGS: Bella Ciao, Italy, Johnoy Danao, La Casa de Papel, Money Heist, protest music
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