The songs of the Mala – Pan de Mej e la mala

The songs of the mala are a strand of the Milanese popular song.

This genre was successful thanks to the work of Ornella Vanoni who proposed a series of songs created by Giorgio Strehler that had, as main theme, the Milanese mala.

Other interpreters of this theme were: I Gufi, Nanni Svampa, Dario Fo, Enzo Jannacci.

In reality the success of the genre was due to an effective communication by Strehler that made everyone believe that these songs were derived from ancient manuscripts while they were written, istead, on purpose. 

In this operation Strehler was helped by the composer Fiorenzo Carpi, who signed, together with him, some of the most famous songs. (Ma Mi, Le Mantellate, 

The “Canzoni della mala” in reality are not so many.

In research on ancient and more real folk song we propose this dialectal song: “e con la cica in boca”.

E con la cica in boca

“E con la cica in boca e la roda del pan de mej”. Here is one of those songs that give an image of a woman who, with a cigarette in her mouth and, under her arm, a loaf of millet bread, which was a poor bread, walked through the city. And so it gave precisely this image of a character a bit belonging to the underworld.

Il Pan de Mej

Pan de Mej is a typical dessert of Milanese cuisine of peasant and popular origin. It is also called “panigada” or “bread of the poor”.

The term Mej in Milanese means millet. Millet was used in antiquity when there was a lack of flour. Starting in the 1700s, millet was replaced by corn. 

Pan de Mej is served today on April 23 on Saint George’s day.

Today it is more like a biscuit than the original recipe.

So let’s join a good wine.


Vespolina or Ughetta (vitis vinifera circumpadana) it is a red grape variety that reaches full maturity in the first half of October. On the origin of its name there are many versions, among which the one that attributes it to the fact that the grape is very sweet and attracts wasps.

Viene coltivato da prima del 1700 nell’alto Piemonte e nell’Oltrepò pavese. 

It is the DOCG of Gattinara and Ghemme. In the Oltrepò is the DOC Oltrepò Pavese of the following varieties Buttafuoco, Casteggio, Sngue di Giuda.

The resulting wine is characterized by medium-saturated bright ruby color, strong aromas of red flowers, spices and berries, good alcohol content, pronounced tannins of medium finesse, moderate acid tension.

Video: E con la cica en boca.

Un abbraccio/ a big Hug

Marcus Dardi


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