Directed by Jem Cohen. From Songs Of Resistance 1942 – 2018, out now on Anti.
It’s always news when Tom Waits does anything. Especially when he records a version of an old anti-fascist resistance anthem from the Italian Civil War.
One fine morning I woke up early
Find the fascist at my door
Oh, partigiano, please take me with you
Bella ciao, bella ciao, goodbye beautiful
This comes from a new collection of protest songs from guitarist Marc Ribot, who recruited a bunch of singers (including Steve Earle, Tift Merritt, Syd Straw, and Meshell Ndegeocello) to voice historical songs and a few originals.
Explaining “Bella Ciao” Ribot says, “Mussolini’s voodoo economics led Italy into a generation of poverty and a senseless war with hundreds of thousands of Italian casualties—including over 30 thousand Partisans. This song tells the story of one of them. At a tender moment when he or she is saying goodbye to her lover (Bella Ciao=goodbye, beautiful) and trying to imagine what it means to fight for freedom. I played Tom a bunch of the tunes and he immediately bonded with that one. “Of course, he brings a certain gravitas to everything he does—my Italian friends say he sounds exactly like an old ‘partigiano’ (resistance fighter)!”
Portions of the album’s proceeds will be donated to The Indivisible Project, an organization that helps individuals resist the Trump agenda via grassroots movements in their local communities.