Barbie Sounds Out

mezzo-soprano & piano [3’]; words Giovanna Riccio; 2023.

Commissioner: George Elliott Clarke
Premiere: Laura Swankey and Juliet Palmer, The Canadian Music Centre, December 15, 2023.

Barbie Sounds Out

Giovanna Riccio from Plastic’s Republic


babes play

babes say ba ba Ba rrr b e

be a ba be be be a bo db y

be a bar bar Bar bie

i.e. bare ly a bod y be

be no body


Barbie breast bar barbarian nipples

nipples be a no-no

ra-ra- ra no bra no brainer

know no nipples on breasts

now know breasts bear no nipples,

know how busty Barbie be no B-cup cupcake

Barbie bar-hops big-breasted

in bed or bar nipple less

nip nip nipples? yes! pin-up Barbie no less


barring the BRRR of barbed air-waves

Barbie babble in ear

her barbed scat on air

air on a B string

airheads put on airs

hair-heads rarely hear

how barbarian girls reared on hair play

buy Barbie babble

be nobody nobody

buy Barbie and be

rabbi Barbie or A-rab Barbie

or Barbara-Ann bomb, bomb, bomb

bomb, bombing Iran


grab Barbie by the waist

no way

Barbie brags a barely-there waist

waist-away be done

waste-away be none