Canale Milva

Alla mattina appena alzata #1

Con la partecipazione di: Claire van Lubeek Crowdpleaser Joo Young Hwang Lula Broglio Rada Koželj
Curata da: Giada Olivotto & Camilla Paolino
In onda da: estate 2020


Welcome, dear listeners, to the first airing of CANALE MILVA: a radio web platform that, starting from selected goodies of Italian music, investigates the format of the sound exhibition from the perspective of visual arts practitioners. The platform is curated for you by Giada Olivotto and Camilla Paolino, broadcasting from Lugano today, tomorrow who knows…

Let’s start with the first episode of “Alla mattina appena alzata,” a column whose title will perhaps make you think of podcasts and sound exhibitions especially produced to accompany the moment of waking up in the morning, or to be played as the soundtrack to your breakfast, but that is something else. In fact, this column is rather inspired by a wonderful performance by Milva, aired on December 4, 1971 on RAIUNO, in which her beautiful voice interprets a less known version of the famous Italian popular song “Bella Ciao.”

Now, when one hears of “Bella Ciao,” in general, what comes to mind is the popular song of protest that has become an emblem of resistance in the struggles for liberation in different moments of contemporary history.

In fact, the most famous version of the song (made even more famous by its recent appropriation by the Netflix series “Casa de papel,” and arguably so… matter of taste) has accompanied and fed various contemporary resistance struggles, from that of the Italian partisans against fascism, to today’s oppressions. Emblematic in this sense is the gesture of the Kurdish fighters, who sing this song in Kobane in protest against Erdogan’s government (⋆。°✩ excerpt ✩°。⋆); or the notes spread by the Minarets of Izmir, in Turkey, in June this year (⋆。°✩ excerpt ✩°。⋆). So, we were saying, these versions of the song of which we have heard a couple of excerpts, are the ones that have accompanied several anti-fascist resistance struggles to the present day.

And yet, Milva, in her performance on RAIUNO in 1971, makes us hear another version of the song, which she introduces like this: (extract). So here is Milva’s voice, which tells us about this version of “Bella Ciao,” barely known but equally significant, which was sung by the “mondine,” or rice workers, employed in the Piedmontese rice fields, and not only.


⋆。°✩ Milva, “Bella Ciao,” 1971 ✩°。⋆

We have just listened to the voice of Milva singing the “Bella Ciao” of the “mondine,” the seasonal workers of the rice paddies. Well, this version of the song, as we were saying, has almost disappeared from the registers of popular culture and the narratives of history, along with the experiences of those who sang it, only being conserved in a few “canzonieri” that have recently resurfaced and are now also accessible, even on youtube.

Through the column “Alla mattina appena alzata,” we proposed to make “Bella Ciao”’s genealogy surface again, in order to shed light on the forgotten experiences of these women workers who used to sing it in sign of protest; but also on the experiences of many other women and workers who have resisted oppression, exploitation, and danger, and have made themselves strong through singing.

Summing up: protest singing, women’s labor, resistance, and liberation struggles, aren’t but some of the questions that, we feel, this song raises and that our project intends to touch. Thanks to the interventions we are about to propose to you, you will now listen to different takes on Milva’s “Bella Ciao,” which has been variously interpreted by the invited artists, from both a historical and a contemporary perspective.

In fact, we decided to set Milva’s “Bella Ciao” as a starting point, or conceptual frame, for the first exhibition of the column “Alla mattina appena alzata,” which has been produced for Lumpen Station, at the invitation of Andrea Marioni, and with the support of the Geneva-based artist run space one gee in fog. 

We hence asked four artists to react to our reflections, through a series of new sound productions conceived for the occasion. Namely, we invited the Dutch artist Claire van Lubeek, the Korean artist Joo Young Hwang, and the two Italian artists Lula Broglio and Rada Kozelj – all artists who do not necessarily have a sound art practice, that is, who do not necessarily work with sound, but who have accepted the challenge to participate in this sound exhibition and to confront this medium. We would like to remind you that this radio platform was born in response to the impossibility of producing irl physical exhibitions during the covid-19 pandemic. 

So we are happy to share with you this first sound exhibition project. Enjoy your listening!

Our listening begins with “Pockets of silence,” a new production by Dutch artist Claire van Lubeek and sound artist and dj Crowdpleaser, which takes us for a mental walk through an urban soundscape led by the pace of a stranger. As we listen, we realize it’s a woman walking on her own, under the rain, perhaps at night. Some latent sense of danger grips us more and more, growing as the sonic narrative unravels. Her syncopated and nervous stride gives rhythm to our drift. When the melody of “Forest screams” resounds, finally breaking the tension, we know it’s for her. A sort of inner chant, something magical, apotropaic, sheltering her and warding off danger. As a lullaby, it serves her to resist the threats of the night and to protect herself during her solo walk in search for some pockets of silence.

(Ref voice sample 1: Silvia Federici, “The globalization of women’s work and the new forms of violence against women” | Ref voice sample 2: Simon Schama’s “Power of Art,” Episode 8)


⋆。°✩ Claire van Lubeek, in collaboration with Crowdpleaser, “Pockets of Silence,” 19m34 ✩°。⋆

We have just heard the piece entitled “Pockets of Silence” by Claire van Lubeek and Crowdpleaser, composed for the first sound show of the column “Alla mattina appena alzata.”

We continue listening on CANALE MILVA with the Italian artist Rada Kozelij, who dedicates her sound intervention produced for the occasion to the incredible figure – linked to the resistance of the Como area – of Giulia Zucchi. Let’s not forget, dear listeners, that the role played by women in the partisan resistance was of fundamental importance in a dark period – like the fascist one – of history. Let’s now listen to the new version and the song of the young Rada that relates to the most popular version of the song “Bella Ciao.” Have a good listening!


⋆。°✩ Rada Kozelij, “Eccomi qui” + “Giulia Zucchi” + “Adesso ho capito la forma” ✩°。⋆

Thanks to Rada Kozelij for the contribution we have just listened to and that, we wish to remind, is divided into three parts titled as follows: “Eccomi qui,” “Giulia Zucchi,” and “Adesso ho capito la forma.” We would like to add that you can follow Rada’s work on song and performance on youtube on her homonymous channel. 

Let’s continue the listening with a contribution entitled “Tinnitus told me things that do us part” by Korean artist Joo Young Hwang. In this beautifully titled sound piece, the artist explores the contemporary declinations and drifts of the fascist attitude, leading us to reflect on recent episodes of racism that often go unnoticed. The rhythm of the drums that traditionally mark the songs of protest in public demonstrations of which Joo Young Hwang bears witness introduce stories and experiences – also collected by the European network against racism – linked together by the tinnitus: the proverbial whistle in the ear. Warning: Joo Young’s piece could be painful for the eardrums at times.

Enjoy your listening!


⋆。°✩ Joo Young Hwang, “Tinnitus told me things that do us part,” 15m6s ✩°。⋆

We have just listened to “Tinnitus told me things that do us part” by artist Joo Young Hwang, whom we warmly thank for this contribution and for the important and difficult testimonies with which he makes us reflect. Joo Young sent us her voice from a garden run by elderly people on a rooftop in Seoul, from which she conveys this reflection on the problem of racism amplified during and after the pandemic.

The next listening is dedicated to the sound piece of the Piedmontese artist Lula Broglio, entitled “Dente Avvelenato.” This piece was conceived as a choral answer to the question posed by the artist to different interlocutors, namely: “Which soundtrack is the background to your resistance? Or what song was in your head when you decided to say: ‘enough’?” This interweaving of songs, testimonies, stories, nursery rhymes, and poems evokes the melodies of anti-fascist resistance that Lula’s composition tells us about. Let’s dive into “Dente avvelenato,” which, as in the case of Rada Kozelij, leads us back to a struggle that we experience through a transgenerational transmission, based on the memories and songs of those who lived it through. Dear listeners, we wish you a good listening!


⋆。°✩ Lula Broglio, “Dente Avvelenato,” 6m5s ✩°。⋆

And with Lula Broglio’s intertwined voices ends the first sound exhibition of the column “Alla mattina appena alzata,” broadcasted for you on CANALE MILVA. We thank the artist for this precious contribution, and all the listeners who have followed us on CANALE MILVA. 

We would also like to thank Lumpen Station for the invitation and we would like to remind you that the column “Alla mattina appena alzata” is a co-production of Lumpen Station and one gee in fog.