Barbez – “Bella Ciao” (stream) (PopMatters Premiere)

The title track off Barbez’s latest album, “Bella Ciao” is the oft-interpreted rallying cry from the anti-Fascist Italian resistance during World War II, reimagined to fit an aesthetic that’s all the NYC experimental outfit’s own. Featuring Faun Fables’ Dawn McCarthy on vocals, “Bella Ciao” is able to articulate the diverse musical sensibilities that inform Barbez’s hybrid, cutting-edge work, combining strains of Jewish and Eastern European folk musics, an avant taste for skewed tonalities, the improvisational interplay of jazz, and the urgent drive of rock ‘n’ roll.

Premiering here on PopMatters, “Bella Ciao” works as a stirring flagbearer for a bracing, adventurous album it shares its name with. Barbez’s Bella Ciao is out now via John Zorn’s Tzadik label.