An exiled rapper has released a cover version of the antifascist hymn ‘Bella Ciao’. Hip hop artist Valtonyc was sentenced to three years and a half in jail in Spain over the lyrics of his songs, but left Spain before entering prison.
A Spanish court found him guilty of “glorifying terrorism, slander and defamation of the crown.” But he always defended his right of freedom of expression and artistic creativity. In fact, rap lyrics are usually highly provocative, and music organizations such as Finnish Artists At Risk (AR) have publicly stated that they meet “all the criteria” to get their assistance.
The ‘Bella Ciao’ cover features five women singing the classic lyrics of the Italian antifascist hymn, with Valtonyc himself rapping in Catalan and Spanish. The song, titled ‘Alegrià e Libertà,’ defends “freedom of creation, freedom of expression and freedom of thought.”
Valtonyc says the lyrics aim to honor “victims of all dictatorships” and defend freedoms of all kinds. “Voices cannot be stopped by walls or jails,” he says, adding that “social inequalities are more violent than any song.”