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Watch DJ Ashba perform Bella Ciao at the opening of the MMA Awards 2021

DJ Ashba
(Image credit: MEDIA VAULT/YouTube)

Ex-Guns N’ Roses guitarist DJ Ashba was tasked with kicking off the MMA 2021 Awards ceremony in Las Vegas on December 11, performing new single Bella Ciao for an audience of mixed martial arts fighters and associates.

The single is an update of an Italian folk classic, popularized by Netflix phenomenon Money Heist and reimagined by Ashba as a ‘guitar-dance music’ (GDM) tune. In the footage of the show, Ashba takes to the stage accompanied by a masked DJ and a troop of dancers while plucking the opening lines on an acoustic. 

The instrument is soon hurled to one side (presumably to a waiting stage hand, but its fate remains unconfirmed) as Ashba transfers to an especially bling-y version of his Schecter signature model for the remainder of the performance. It is, quite literally, a tough crowd [apologies – Ed] but Ashba gives it all he has across the four minutes of dance beats and distorted riffs.

The guitarist unveiled his take on Bella Ciao in early November, revealing he first heard it on Money Heist and felt compelled to make his own version of the folk tune. 

“I became so inspired by Bella Ciao and the history of the song,” Ashba said. “I couldn't wait to get into the studio and make my own GDM version. I wanted it to be epic and dramatic, with big bass, bone-crushing guitar, and an infectious beat that I know the fans will go crazy for.”

If you’re enjoying Ashba’s brand of GDM, keep an eye on his official website for more tour dates and release news. 

Matt Parker

Matt is a freelance journalist who has spent the last decade interviewing musicians for the likes of Total Guitar, Guitarist, Guitar World, MusicRadar, NME.com, DJ Mag and Electronic Sound. In 2020, he launched CreativeMoney.co.uk, which aims to share the ideas that make creative lifestyles more sustainable. He plays guitar, but should not be allowed near your delay pedals.