The song “Summer is you (Rain dance in Reverse)”

The song is the result of six months of shoulder-to-shoulder work, adolescent patients, doctors, professionals and artists. The first three months the group of patients worked with the staff of the Youth Project, collecting ideas and writing texts on the theme of summer and travel; the patients (a group of 45 aged 15–26 years old, of whom were 25 receiving treatment, and 20 being followed up) talked about their desire for summer, to travel, to dream, to dance. Building, once again, something beautiful, together. The work was performed in the multipurpose room reserved for AYA patients alongside the ward, and partly from home, using the virtual room of a closed Facebook group. Another 2 months were spent preparing the final text and putting it to music with the help of a group of professional musicians – Stefano Signoroni and his collaborators Jacopo Sarno, Giacomo and Tommaso Ruggeri, who had already worked for Christmas Balls, and Faso (the bass player of Elio e le Storie Tese) who had already collaborated on the song Clouds of Oxygen – the final text was created from the collected material, while, contemporarily, the music was written (working in the “music room” at the hospital).

During the final month, the song was recorded at a professional studio, where the patients sang and some played their own musical instruments. A video clip was recorded too, partly in hospital and partly in the recording studio, with the direction of Jacopo Sarno and realized by CloverThree Music.

There is a lot of poetry in the patients’ lyrics and in the video, there is melancholy, there is the desire for summer of all of them, new friendships, new love, evenings spent looking at the stars. Some sentences written by them are just beautiful: “Do not remain closed in on yourself looking for an island that does not exist, there are millions of grains (of sand) just waiting for you”, writes Matteo Davide.

“To really feel summer it is not enough to see a wonderful sun shining in the sky outside our windows. First of all, we need to feel the sun shining inside us,” says Marygabry. “I go to the station, catch a train with a rucksack on my back, and a dear friend beside me. A night at the campsite and one at the hostel, we draw the world with a pen and a crayon” (Anna).

But there are also references to the hospital. Or to friends who are no longer here, in this absurd “there’s no reason why” world. Matteo Davide again: “Like a shell, plucked from the sand, this summer you’re not here, and you’ve no idea how angry it makes me. Here, I swear, I so miss your company, but I want you to know you’ll always be in my thoughts”. And there is a lot of parallelism between the summer journey, dreamed of for so long, and the journey of the treatment path, the journey of illness. It is a bit like what is showed in the video, where the patients prepare the suitcase and it is unclear if it is to go to the hospital – their daily life – or to leave for a trip, or a secret place where to find friendship and levity and love and music, even where in theory there should be no room except for treatment.

“The rain dance tells a little about the magic that is created in our ward, a magical rite, the water that brings life and washes away the pains of the soul – explains Andrea Ferrari, head of the Youth Project – Here the magic is a reversed dance, because the goal is to bring the sun back into the lives of adolescents who are facing an oncological disease. There is magic, therefore, in the Youth Project but, it must be said, there is also a lot of professionalism, a lot of work, a lot of serious effort; and many people who get involved with passion, who learn to offer not only their head but also their heart to the profession, inventing a new model of care and culture “.

The texts of “Summer is you” – all the emotions and feelings that led the patients to dream of summer – were collected together and have already led the young patients to win the Federica Literary Award, AIOM, Italian Association of Medical Oncology, in May 2018.



Project type

Song and videclip

Scientific publication

The story of the song “Summer is you” is told on:
Signoroni S, Veneroni L, Pagani Bagliacca E, Gaggiotti P, Silva M, Casanova M, Chiaravalli S, Clerici CA, Massimino M, Ferrari A. “Summer is you”: adolescents and young adults with cancer sing about their desire for summer. Pediatr Blood Cancer 2019 May;66(5):e27630. doi: 10.1002/pbc.27630.