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Money Heist’s ‘Bella Ciao’ Has Roots in Latin America as an Anthem of Resistance, Here’s Where the Song Comes From

Mexican-American pop star Becky G made heads turn earlier this month with her remake of the single “Bella Ciao” in anticipation of the final episodes of the hit Netflix series “Money Heist,” or “Casa de Papel.” It’s the latest in a series of unique collaborations that keep us wanting more music from Becky G.

By breaking down cultural barriers, Becky G’s new remix adds to the history of a song that’s been an anthem of resistance for decades. 

Bella Ciao” From Italy to Spain to South America

While most of us probably first heard “Bella Ciao” for the first time when the professor and Berlin sang it together in the first season of “Money Heist,” the song has a long history in Europe and throughout Latin America as an anthem of resistance. 

The exact origins of the song are unknown. It became most popular before World War II when it was sung by the Italian anti-fascist resistance while they were fighting against Italian dictator Benito Mussolini and later on the Nazi occupation. It was reportedly brought to Spain by Italian soldiers who joined the International Brigades to fight against Spanish dictator Francisco Franco in the Spanish Civil War. 

This history can still be heard today when Becky G sings “E ho trovato l’invasor” which translates to “I’ve discovered the invader” or “E se io muoio da partigiano” which translates to “If I die as a partisan”  or “O partigiano,” “Take me with you.” This is because members of the anti-fascist resistance were called partisans.  

The song eventually ended up crossing the Atlantic Ocean after the war, becoming popular among activists in Latin America who were fighting against inequality and for freedom in the region. In 1973 after the U.S.-backed coup in Chile that installed Augusto Pinochet’s military dictatorship, the song became an anthem of the resistance in Chile. The Chilean folk band Quilapayún famously included “Bella Ciao” in their album “Basta” just before the coup limited freedom of expression in the country. 

Becky G Brings “Bella Ciao” to Latin America

Becky G puts a new spin on the history of resistance behind “Bella Ciao” by breaking down cultural barriers and mixing Spanglish with Italian to create a resistance anthem that we can actually dance to. She shows that unique cultural and semantic dynamic where we can bridge the gaps between the United States, Europe, and Latin America without losing touch with our roots.

Becky G’s remix of “Bella Ciao” is the anthem to the resistance of daily life that keeps us going at school and work. 

It’s the soundtrack to finally getting around to that new hobby or getting one step closer to your career goals. At a time when Latinos are amplifying culture, “Bella Ciao” is the song we need to stay woke and keep up the resistance. 

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