Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Anime salve:
    Princesa - Princess

Sono la pecora sono la vacca
che agli animali si vuol giocare
sono la femmina camicia aperta
piccole tette da succhiare

Sotto le ciglia di questi alberi
nel chiaroscuro dove son nato
che l'orizzonte prima del cielo
ero lo sguardo di mia madre

"che Fernandino è come una figlia
mi porta a letto caffè e tapioca
e a ricordargli che è nato maschio
sarà l'istinto sarà la vita"

e io davanti allo specchio grande
mi paro gli occhi con le dita
a immaginarmi tra le gambe
una minuscola fica

nel dormiveglia della corriera
lascio l'infanzia contadina
corro all'incanto dei desideri
vado a correggere la fortuna

nella cucina della pensione
mescolo i sogni con gli ormoni
ad albeggiare sarà magia
saranno seni miracolosi

perché Fernanda è proprio una figlia
come una figlia vuol far l'amore
ma Fernandino resiste e vomita
e si contorce dal dolore

e allora il bisturi per seni e fianchi
in una vertigine di anestesia
finché il mio corpo mi rassomigli
sul lungomare di Bahia

sorriso tenero di verdefoglia
dai suoi capelli sfilo le dita
quando le macchine puntano i fari
sul palcoscenico della mia vita

dove tra ingorghi di desideri
alle mie natiche un maschio s'appende
nella mia carne tra le mie labbra
un uomo scivola l'altro si arrende

che Fernandino mi è morto in grembo
Fernanda è una bambola di seta
sono le braci di un'unica stella
che squilla di luce di nome Princesa

a un avvocato di Milano
ora Princesa regala il cuore
e un passeggiare recidivo
nella penombra di un balcone

o matu (la campagna)
o cèu (il cielo)
a senda (il sentiero)
a escola (la scuola)
a igreja (la chiesa)
a desonra (la vergogna)
a saia (la gonna)
o esmalte (lo smalto)
o espelho (lo specchio)
o baton (il rossetto)
o medo (la paura)
a rua (la strada)
a bombadeira (la modellatrice)
a vertigem (la vertigine)
o encanto (l'incantesimo)
a magia (la magia)
os carros (le macchine)
a policia (la polizia)
a canseira (la stanchezza)
o brio (la dignità)
o noivo (il fidanzato)
o capanga (lo sgherro)
o fidalgo (il gransignore)
o porcalhao (lo sporcaccione)
o azar (la sfortuna)
a bebedeira (la sbronza)
as pancadas (le botte)
os carinhos (le carezze)
a falta (il fallimento)
o nojo (lo schifo)
a formusura (la bellezza)
viver (vivere)

Princesa © 1996 Fabrizio De André/Ivano Fossati

"Princesa" is about Fernanda Farias de Albuquerque, who was born in Brazil in 1963 as a male but from the age of six years identified as female. She emigrated to Spain at the age of 25 and then to Italy, where she was a sex worker in order to pay for a sex change operation. She was incarcerated for the attempted murder of the madam of the brothel where she worked after the madam had stolen money from her. In jail, she met a Sardinian shepherd who had attempted a bank robbery. The two spoke about Brazil and Sardinia in a mix of languages. Another inmate, sentenced to two life sentences, undertook to write the story of Fernanda/Princesa, and after a year of collaboration the book was published in 1994, on which De André based this song. The happy ending of the song did not mirror what happened in real life - Fernanda/Princesa ended her life in 1999 without having completed the transition to being female.



Fernanda Farias De Albuquerque
I am the ewe, I am the cow,
because one wants to play at being animals.
I am the female, open shirt,
small tits to suck.

Under the eyelashes of these trees
in the light and shade where I was born,
because the horizon before the sky,
I was the look in my mother’s eyes.

“Why is little Fernando like a daughter?
He brings me coffee and tapioca in bed,
and to remind him that he was born male
will be instinct, will be life.”

And me, in front of the big mirror -
I screen my eyes with my fingers
to imagine for myself, between my legs,
a little twat.

In the half slumber of a bus
I leave my peasant infancy,
I run to the spell of desires,
I go to adjust my fortune.

In the kitchen of the boarding house
I mix dreams with hormones.
When dawn comes there will be magic,
there will be miraculous breasts.

Because Fernanda is really a daughter,
like a girl she wants to make love.
But little Fernando resists and vomits
and writhes in agony.

And then the scalpel for breasts and hips,
in a whirl of anesthesia,
until my body looks like me
along the seafront of Bahia.

Tender smile of greenleaf,
from her hair I withdraw my fingers
when the cars point their headlights
on the stage of my life

where, amidst traffic jams of desires,
at my buttocks a cock is hanging.
Into my meat, between my lips,
one man slides, the other surrenders.

Because little Fernando died in my bosom,
Fernanda is a silk doll.
They are branches of a single star
that blasts out light, Princess by name.

To a lawyer in Milan
Princess now gives her heart,
and a customary stroll
in the shadow of a balcony.

the countryside
the sky
the path
the school
the church
the shame
the skirt
the nail polish
the mirror
the lipstick
the fear
the street
the fashion model
the dizziness
the charm
the magic
the cars
the police
the tiredness
the dignity
the fiancé
the thug
the elder gentleman
the lecher
the misfortune
the bender
the blows
the caresses
the failure
the disgust
the beauty
living

English translation © 2014 Dennis Criteser



Anime salve was released in 1996, the last of De André's thirteen studio albums. The songs were co-written by De André and Ivano Fossati, and the studio recording was co-produced by De André and Piero Milesi. De André referred to the album both as "a type of eulogy for solitude" and "a discourse on freedom." Here you will discover an album with De André at his full powers as lyricist and singer with his rich baritone in a musical setting that is striking, musically sophisticated and varied, with musical references to South America, the Balkans and the Mediterranean. The album was voted best Italian album of 1997 by the readers of La Repubblica and critics voted De André as the best Italian artist. The album also received the prestigious Targa Tenco prize for best album of 1997.
Back to Album List         Back to Song List

Monday, December 8, 2014

Anime salve:
    Khorakhanè (a forza di essere vento)
    Khorakhanè (by dint of being wind)

Il cuore rallenta la testa cammina
in quel pozzo di piscio e cemento
a quel campo strappato dal vento
a forza di essere vento

porto il nome di tutti i battesimi
ogni nome il sigillo di un lasciapassare
per un guado una terra una nuvola un canto
un diamante nascosto nel pane
per un solo dolcissimo umore del sangue
per la stessa ragione del viaggio viaggiare

Il cuore rallenta e la testa cammina
in un buio di giostre in disuso
qualche rom si è fermato italiano
come un rame a imbrunire su un muro

saper leggere il libro del mondo
con parole cangianti e nessuna scrittura
nei sentieri costretti in un palmo di mano
i segreti che fanno paura
finchè un uomo ti incontra e non si riconosce
e ogni terra si accende e si arrende la pace

i figli cadevano dal calendario
Yugoslavia Polonia Ungheria
i soldati prendevano tutti
e tutti buttavano via

e poi Mirka a San Giorgio di maggio
tra le fiamme dei fiori a ridere a bere
e un sollievo di lacrime a invadere gli occhi
e dagli occhi cadere

ora alzatevi spose bambine
che è venuto il tempo di andare
con le vene celesti dei polsi
anche oggi si va a caritare

e se questo vuol dire rubare
questo filo di pane tra miseria e fortuna
allo specchio di questa kampina
ai miei occhi limpidi come un addio
lo può dire soltanto
chi sa di raccogliere in bocca
il punto di vista di Dio

Cvava sero po tute
i kerava jek sano ot mori
i taha jek jak kon kasta
vasu ti baro nebo avi ker

  Poserò la testa sulla tua spalla
  e farò un sogno di mare
  e domani un fuoco di legna
  perché l'aria azzurra diventi casa
kon ovla so mutavia
kon ovla ovla kon ascovi
me gava palan ladi
me gava palan bura ot croiuti

  chi sarà a raccontare
  chi sarà sarà chi rimane
  io seguirò questo migrare
  seguirò questa corrente di ali

Anime salve © 1996 Fabrizio De André/Ivano Fossati

"Khorakhanè" is a song about the Romani people, who originated from India perhaps a thousand years ago. Khorakhanè means reader of the Koran, and in the song are a Serbian/Montenegran group of so-called Turkish Roma. Due to the nomadic ways of Romani tribes, they are sometimes called "people of the wind." The first verse is the image of the conflict that Romanis feel about settling down to a perhaps easier life versus their impulse to keep moving. The second verse refers to several Romani practices: giving their children the names of people currently in power so as to win them over and gain the ability of passage across borders; hiding their jewels in loaves of bread to avoid having them discovered and taken; and marrying within the tribe to maintain social purity. The third verse presents an image of Romanis who have settled down (as is the case for the great majority of them today). The fourth verse references the fact that Romani culture is an oral one, and that fortune telling has been a traditional means for earning a living. The fifth verse refers to the Nazi extermination of Romani tribes in World War II, while the sixth verse refers to the Festival of San Giorgio (Saint George is celebrated by both Christians and Muslims), an important celebration for Romani even in the midst of horror. Following the festival, the next verses are back to the everyday realities of a nomadic tribe, which include asking for handouts, which some might view as a kind of stealing, but which should be judged only from the point of view of God. The final two verses are in the Romani language.



The heart slows, the head walks
into that well of piss and cement,
to that camp torn by the wind,
by dint of being wind.

I carry the name of all the baptisms,
every name the seal of a permit
for a ford, a land, a cloud, a chant,
a diamond hidden in bread,
for a single temper of blood most sweet,
for the same reason of the voyage, voyaging.

The heart slows and the head walks
into a darkness of abandoned merry-go-rounds.
Some Roma settled down Italian
like copper growing dark against a wall.

Knowing how to read the book of the world
with iridescent words and no writing
in the narrow paths in the palm of a hand,
the secrets that strike fear
until a man meets you and doesn’t recognize himself,
and every land catches fire and peace surrenders.

The children were falling from the calendar,
Yugoslavia, Polonia, Hungary,
the soldiers were taking everyone
and they were throwing everyone away.

And then Mirka at San Giorgio in May
amidst the flames of the flowers, to laugh, to drink,
and a relief of tears invading the eyes
and, from the eyes, falling.

Now wake up, child brides,
because the time has come to go.
With the sky blue veins of the wrists
even today one goes to ask for handouts.

And if this means stealing,
this line of bread between misery and fortune,
in the mirror of this encampment,
to my eyes clear like a farewell,
he can call it that
only one who knows about taking into his mouth
the point of view of God.





I’ll lay my head on your shoulder
and I will make a dream out of the sea,
and tomorrow a fire out of wood
so that the blue air becomes home.




Who will be there to tell the story?
Who will be there? There will be whoever remains.
I’ll follow this migrating,
I’ll follow this movement of wings.

English translation © 2014 Dennis Criteser



Anime salve was released in 1996, the last of De André's thirteen studio albums. The songs were co-written by De André and Ivano Fossati, and the studio recording was co-produced by De André and Piero Milesi. De André referred to the album both as "a type of eulogy for solitude" and "a discourse on freedom." Here you will discover an album with De André at his full powers as lyricist and singer with his rich baritone in a musical setting that is striking, musically sophisticated and varied, with musical references to South America, the Balkans and the Mediterranean. The album was voted best Italian album of 1997 by the readers of La Repubblica and critics voted De André as the best Italian artist. The album also received the prestigious Targa Tenco prize for best album of 1997.
Back to Album List         Back to Song List

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Anime salve:
    Anime salve - Saved Souls

Mille anni al mondo mille ancora
che bell'inganno sei anima mia
e che bello il mio tempo
che bella compagnia

sono giorni di finestre adornate canti di stagione
anime salve in terra e in mare

sono state giornate furibonde senza atti d'amore
senza calma di vento
solo passaggi e passaggi
passaggi di tempo

ore infinite come costellazioni e onde
spietate come gli occhi della memoria
altra memoria e non basta ancora
cose svanite facce
e poi il futuro

i futuri incontri di belle amanti scellerate
saranno scontri saranno cacce
coi cani e coi cinghiali
saranno rincorse morsi e affanni
per mille anni

mille anni al mondo mille ancora
che bell'inganno sei anima mia
e che grande il mio tempo
che bella compagnia

mi sono spiato illudermi e fallire
abortire i figli come i sogni
mi sono guardato piangere in uno specchio di neve
mi sono visto che ridevo
mi sono visto di spalle che partivo

ti saluto dai paesi di domani
che sono visioni di anime contadine
in volo per il mondo

mille anni al mondo mille ancora
che bell'inganno sei anima mia
e che grande questo tempo che solitudine
che bella compagnia

Anime salve © 1996 Fabrizio De André/Ivano Fossati

"Anime salve" is sung both by De André and Ivano Fossati, who is responsible for most of the music of this song. De André said that he meant for the words "anime" and "salva" to maintain some of their etymological root meanings of "spirit" and "solitary." After two songs about a person and a people who were forced into a kind of marginalized solitude away from the mainstream world, he meant this song to be a hymn to solitude as a choice that can save one's soul from the worst human failings, solitude as a counterbalance to living in the world, a solitude that gives space for better understanding, learning and reflection about the world, a solitude that counters the tendencies towards violence that result from people banding together and identifying as a group, both at the local/social level and at the level of political states.



A thousand years in the world, a thousand still,
what a fine deception you are, my soul,
and how beautiful my time,
what beautiful company.

They are days of adorned windows, carols of the season,
saved souls on land and at sea.

They were furious days without acts of love,
without calmness of wind,
only passages and passages,
passages of time.

Infinite hours like constellations and waves,
merciless like the eyes of memory.
Another memory and it’s still not enough,
vanished things, faces,
and then the future.

Future encounters of beautiful lovers, unholy,
will be conflicts, will be hunts
with the dogs and the boars,
they will be chases, bites and troubles
for a thousand years.

A thousand years in the world, a thousand still,
what a fine deception you are, my soul,
and how boundless my time,
what beautiful company.

I spied myself deceiving myself and failing,
aborting children like dreams.
I watched myself crying in a mirror of snow,
I saw myself that was laughing,
I saw myself from the back as I departed.

I salute you from domains of tomorrow
that are visions of peasant souls
en route to the world.

A thousand years in the world, a thousand still,
what a fine deception you are, my soul,
and how great this time, what solitude,
what beautiful company.

English translation © 2014 Dennis Criteser



Anime salve was released in 1996, the last of De André's thirteen studio albums. The songs were co-written by De André and Ivano Fossati, and the studio recording was co-produced by De Andrè and Piero Milesi. De André referred to the album both as "a type of eulogy for solitude" and "a discourse on freedom." Here you will discover an album with De André at his full powers as lyricist and singer with his rich baritone in a musical setting that is striking, musically sophisticated and varied, with musical references to South America, the Balkans and the Mediterranean. The album was voted best Italian album of 1997 by the readers of La Repubblica and critics voted De André as the best Italian artist. The album also received the prestigious Targa Tenco prize for best album of 1997.
Back to Album List         Back to Song List

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Anime salve:
    Dolcenera

  Amìala ch'â l'arìa amìa cum'â l'é cum'â l'é
  amiala cum'â l'aria amìa ch'â l'è lê ch'â l'è lê
  amiala cum'â l'aria amìa amia cum'â l'è
  amiala ch'â l'arìa amia ch'â l'è lê ch'â l'è lê

  Guardala che arriva guarda com'è com'è
  guardala come arriva guarda che è lei che è lei
  guardala come arriva guarda guarda com'è
  guardala che arriva che è lei che è lei

nera che porta via che porta via la via
nera che non si vedeva da una vita intera
così dolcenera nera
nera che picchia forte che butta giù le porte
  nu l'è l'aegua ch'à fá baggiá
  imbaggiâ imbaggiâ

  Non è l'acqua che fa sbadigliare
  chiudere porte e finestre chiudere porte e finestre

nera di malasorte che ammazza e passa oltre
nera come la sfortuna che si fa la tana
dove non c'è luna luna
nera di falde amare che passano le bare
  âtru da stramûâ
  â nu n'á â nu n'á

  Altro da traslocare
  non ne ha non ne ha

ma la moglie di Anselmo non lo deve sapere
ché è venuta per me è arrivata da un'ora
e l'amore ha l'amore come solo argomento
e il tumulto del cielo ha sbagliato momento

acqua che non si aspetta altro che benedetta
acqua che porta male sale dalle scale
sale senza sale sale
acqua che spacca il monte che affonda terra e ponte
  nu l'è l'aaegua de 'na rammâ
  'n calabà 'n calabà

  Non è l'acqua di un colpo di pioggia
  (ma) un gran casino un gran casino

ma la moglie di Anselmo sta sognando del mare
quando ingorga gli anfratti si ritira e risale
e il lenzuolo si gonfia sul cavo dell'onda
e la lotta si fa scivolosa e profonda

  amiala cum'â l'aria amìa cum'â l'è cum'â l'è
  amiala cum'â l'aria amia ch'â l'è lê ch'â l'è lê

  Guardala come arriva guarda com'è com'è
  guardala come arriva guarda che è lei che è lei

acqua di spilli fitti dal cielo e dai soffitti
acqua per fotografie
per cercare i complici da maledire
acqua che stringe i fianchi tonnara di passanti
  âtru da camallâ
  â nu n'à â nu n'à

  Altro da mettersi in spalla
  non ne ha non ne ha

oltre il muro dei vetri si risveglia la vita
che si prende per mano a battaglia finita
come fa questo amore
che dall'ansia di perdersi
ha avuto in un giorno la certezza di aversi

acqua che ha fatto sera che adesso si ritira
bassa sfila tra la gente
come un innocente che non c'entra niente
fredda come un dolore Dolcenera senza cuore
  atru de rebellâ
  â nu n'à â nu n'à

  Altro da trascinare
  non ne ha non ne ha

e la moglie di Anselmo sente l'acqua che scende
dai vestiti incollati da ogni gelo di pelle
nel suo tram scollegato da ogni distanza
nel bel mezzo del tempo che adesso le avanza
così fu quell'amore dal mancato finale
così splendido e vero da potervi ingannare

  Amìala ch'â l'arìa amìa cum'â l'é cum'â l'é
  amiala cum'â l'aria amìa ch'â l'è lê ch'â l'è lê
  amiala cum'â l'aria amìa amia cum'â l'è
  amiala ch'â l'arìa amia ch'â l'è lê ch'â l'è lê

  Guardala che arriva guarda com'è com'è
  guardala come arriva guarda che è lei che è lei
  guardala come arriva guarda guarda com'è
  guardala che arriva che è lei che è lei

Dolcenera © 1996 Fabrizio De André/Ivano Fossati

"Dolcenera" is about a tryst that never came about due to the disruption of a major flood, such as occurred in Genoa in 1970. The term "dolcenera" refers to the dual nature of water - sweet when it is pure and life-giving, and black when it is fouled and out of control as in a flood. Against the backdrop of the flood, a man watches and waits anxiously for the woman to arrive. But it never happens, as she is stranded in a tram, unable to reach any distance, deceived and disappointed by the promise of an adulterous love that never came to pass. The theme of solitude in this song plays out as the loneliness of two lovers who are unable to meet.



1970 flood of Genoa




Look at her who’s arriving, what’s she like what’s she like?
Watch her as she arrives, watch that it’s her, that it’s her.
Watch her as she arrives, watch, watch, what’s she like?
Look at her who’s arriving, that it’s her, that it’s her.

Black that carries away that carries away the way,
black that wasn’t seen for a lifetime,
so sweetblack, black,
black that beats up, that throws down the doors.


It’s not the water that makes you yawn,
but closing doors and windows, closing doors and windows.

Black with bad luck that kills and moves on,
black like the misfortune of making a den
where there’s no moon, moon,
black with bitter layers that pass the coffins.


Other things to move,
it doesn’t have any, it doesn’t have any.

But the wife of Anselmo doesn’t have to know it,
because she came for me, she arrived an hour ago,
and love has love as its only subject matter,
and the turmoil in the sky comes at the wrong time.

Water one doesn't expect to be other than benediction,
water that brings evil rises up the stairs,
rises without salt, salt,
water that smashes the mountain, that sinks land and bridge.


It’s not the water of a rain shower,
but a big mess, a big mess.

But the wife of Anselmo is dreaming of the sea –
when it engorges the crevices, it pulls back and rises again,
and the sheet swells in the hollow of the wave,
and the struggle gets slippery and profound.



Look at her as she arrives, look, how is she, how is she?
Look at her as she arrives, look that it’s her, that it’s her.

Water like driven pins from the sky and from the ceilings,
water for photographs,
for searching out accomplices to curse at,
water that squeezes the hips, tuna nets of passersby.


Other things to shoulder off,
it doesn’t have any, it doesn’t have any.

Beyond the wall of the windowpanes, life awakens,
that one takes by the hand at the finished battle,
as this love does,
that, from the anxiety of losing itself,
had in one day the certainty of having itself.

Water that proceeded 'til evening that now pulls back,
ebbed, it parades amongst the people
like an innocent who enters nowhere,
cold like a sorrow, heartless Dolcenera.


Other things to drag away,
it doesn’t have any, it doesn’t have any.

And the wife of Anselmo feels the water that falls
from the clinging clothes, from every chill of the skin,
in her tram disconnected from every distance,
in the very midst of the time that now advances on her.
Such was that love from the missed ending,
so splendid and true as to be able to deceive you.





Look at her who’s arriving, look, how is she, how is she?
Watch her as she arrives, watch that it’s her, that it’s her.
Watch her as she arrives, watch, watch, what’s she like?
Look at her who’s arriving, that it’s her, that it’s her.

English translation © 2014 Dennis Criteser


Anime salve was released in 1996, the last of De André's thirteen studio albums. The songs were co-written by De André and Ivano Fossati, and the studio recording was co-produced by De André and Piero Milesi. De André referred to the album both as "a type of eulogy for solitude" and "a discourse on freedom." Here you will discover an album with De André at his full powers as lyricist and singer with his rich baritone in a musical setting that is striking, musically sophisticated and varied, with musical references to South America, the Balkans and the Mediterranean. The album was voted best Italian album of 1997 by the readers of La Repubblica and critics voted De André as the best Italian artist. The album also received the prestigious Targa Tenco prize for best album of 1997.
Back to Album List         Back to Song List

Friday, December 5, 2014

Anime salve
    Le acciughe fanno il pallone
    The Anchovies Make a Ball

Le acciughe fanno il pallone
che sotto c'è l'alalunga
se non butti la rete
non te ne lascia una
e alla riva sbarcherò
alla riva verrà la gente
questi pesci sorpresi
li venderò per niente
se sbarcherò alla foce
e alla foce non c'è nessuno
e la faccia mi laverò
nell'acqua del torrente

ogni tre ami
c'è una stella marina
amo per amo
c'è una stella che trema
ogni tre lacrime
batte la campana

passano le villeggianti
con gli occhi di vetro scuro
passan sotto le reti
che asciugano sul muro
e in mare c'è una fortuna
che viene dall'oriente
che tutti l'hanno vista
e nessuno la prende

ogni tre ami
c'è una stella marina
ogni tre stelle
c'è un aereo che vola
ogni tre notti
un sogno che mi consola

bottiglia legata stretta
come un'esca da trascinare
sorso di vena dolce
che liberi dal male
se prendo il pesce d'oro
ve la farò vedere
se prendo il pesce d'oro
mi sposerò all'altare

ogni tre ami
c'è una stella marina
ogni tre stelle
c'è un aereo che vola
ogni balcone
una bocca che m'innamora

ogni tre ami
c'è una stella marina
ogni tre stelle
c'è un aereo che vola
ogni balcone
una bocca che m'innamora

le acciughe fanno il pallone
che sotto c'è l'alalunga
se non butti la rete
non te ne resta una
non te ne lascia una
non te ne lascia

Le acciughe fanno il pallone © 1996 Fabrizio De André/Ivano Fossati

"Le acciughe fanno il pallone" tells of a fisherman whose solitude is due to poverty. He is in competition with a tuna for the anchovies he fishes for, and faces an uncertain market demand onshore for his catch even then. He can only dream of catching a golden fish that would improve his circumstances and allow him to marry. The musical tag at the end of the song is a wonderful example of the multiculti influences on the album - a middle-Eastern shehnai playing over an African-inspired bed of rhythm along with a Cuban tumbao in the bass.



The anchovies make a ball
because underneath there’s an albacore.
If you don’t cast out the net,
not one of them will be left for you.
And at the shore I’ll disembark,
to the shore will come people.
These surprised fish,
I’ll sell them for nothing
if I disembark at the mouth of the river
and at the river’s mouth there’s no one,
and I’ll wash my face
in the water of the stream.

Every three hooks
there’s a starfish.
Hook by hook
there’s a star that trembles.
Every three tears
the bell marks the time.

Vacationers pass
with their sunglassed eyes,
they pass under the nets
that dry on the wall.
And in the sea there’s a fortune
that comes from the east,
that everyone has seen
and no one catches.

Every three hooks
there’s a starfish.
Every three stars
there’s an airplane that flies.
Every three nights
there’s a dream that consoles me.

Bottle bound tight
like bait for dragging,
draft in a sweet vein
that you free from harm.
If I catch the golden fish
I’ll show it to you.
If I catch the golden fish
I’ll get married at the altar.

Every three hooks
there’s a star fish.
Every three stars
there’s an airplane that flies.
Every balcony
there’s a mouth that charms me.

Every three hooks
there’s a star fish.
Every three stars
there’s an airplane that flies.
Every balcony
there’s a mouth that charms me.

The anchovies make a ball,
because underneath there’s a tuna.
If you don’t cast the net,
not one of them will remain for you,
not one of them will be left for you,
none of them will be left for you.

English translation © 2014 Dennis Criteser



Anime salve was released in 1996, the last of De André's thirteen studio albums. The songs were co-written by De André and Ivano Fossati, and the studio recording was co-produced by De André and Piero Milesi. De André referred to the album both as "a type of eulogy for solitude" and "a discourse on freedom." Here you will discover an album with De André at his full powers as lyricist and singer with his rich baritone in a musical setting that is striking, musically sophisticated and varied, with musical references to South America, the Balkans and the Mediterranean. The album was voted best Italian album of 1997 by the readers of La Repubblica and critics voted De André as the best Italian artist. The album also received the prestigious Targa Tenco prize for best album of 1997.
Back to Album List         Back to Song List

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Anime salve:
    Disamistade - Blood Feud

Che ci fanno queste anime
davanti alla chiesa
questa gente divisa
questa storia sospesa

a misura di braccio
a distanza di offesa
che alla pace si pensa
che la pace si sfiora

due famiglie disarmate di sangue
si schierano a resa
e per tutti il dolore degli altri
è dolore a metà

si accontenta di cause leggere
la guerra del cuore
il lamento di un cane abbattuto
da un'ombra di passo

si soddisfa di brevi agonie
sulla strada di casa
uno scoppio di sangue
un'assenza apparecchiata per cena

e a ogni sparo di caccia all'intorno
si domanda fortuna

che ci fanno queste figlie
a ricamare a cucire
queste macchie di lutto
rinunciate all'amore

fra di loro si nasconde
una speranza smarrita
che il nemico la vuole
che la vuol restituita

e una fretta di mani sorprese
a toccare le mani
che dev'esserci un modo di vivere
senza dolore

una corsa degli occhi negli occhi
a scoprire che invece
è soltanto un riposo del vento
un odiare a metà
e alla parte che manca
si dedica l'autorità

che la disamistade si oppone
alla nostra sventura
questa corsa del tempo a sparigliare
destini e fortuna

che ci fanno queste anime
davanti alla chiesa
questa gente divisa
questa storia sospesa

Disamistade © 1996 Fabrizio De André/Ivano Fossati

"Disamistade" is about blood feuds, which until quite recently were common in Sardinia, and which are probably still bubbling under the surface there according to these articles on a 2007 vendetta killing of a poet and a subsequent possible vindication. In contrast with the other songs on this album, which portray different faces of solitude, this song is about a violence that can happen when people live in close proximity to each other, where envies and slights can fester and erupt into killings that continue in an unending progression as one spilling of blood must be avenged by another. "Disamistade" was translated to English and covered by the American folk/rock band The Walkabouts.



What are they doing, these souls
in front of the church,
this people divided,
this history on hold?

At arm's length away,
at the distance of an offence,
that peace is considered,
a brush with peace,

two blood families, unarmed,
line up to surrender,
and for everyone the pain of the others
is halfway pain.

It contents itself with lightweight causes,
the war of the heart:
the lament of a dog felled
by a passing shadow.

It satisfies itself with quick agonies
on the way home:
a burst of blood,
an absence set at the dinner table.

And at every gunshot of the hunt hereabouts,
one asks for good fortune.

What are these children doing
embroidering, sewing
these patches of mourning,
having given up on love?

Among them is hiding
a misplaced hope
that the enemy wants,
that he wants back.

And a rush of hands, surprised
to touch the hands,
for there must be a way to live
without sorrow.

A race of eyes, in the eyes
to discover that instead
it’s merely a resting of the wind,
a hatred halfway through,
and to the missing part
the authorities are dedicated.

'Cause the blood feud counters
our woe,
this passing of time, by breaking up a pair:
destinies and good fortune.

What are these souls doing
in front of the church,
this people divided,
this history on hold?

English translation © 2014 Dennis Criteser



Anime salve was released in 1996, the last of De André's thirteen studio albums. The songs were co-written by De André and Ivano Fossati, and the studio recording was co-produced by De André and Piero Milesi. De André referred to the album both as "a type of eulogy for solitude" and "a discourse on freedom." Here you will discover an album with De André at his full powers as lyricist and singer with his rich baritone in a musical setting that is striking, musically sophisticated and varied, with musical references to South America, the Balkans and the Mediterranean. The album was voted best Italian album of 1997 by the readers of La Repubblica and critics voted De André as the best Italian artist. The album also received the prestigious Targa Tenco prize for best album of 1997.

Back to Album List         Back to Song List

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Anime salve
    Â cúmba - The Dove

Pretendente:
Gh'aivu 'na bella cùmba ch'à l'é xeûa foea de cà
gianca cun'à néie ch'à deslengue a cian d'à sâ
  Duv'a l'é duv'a l'é duv'a duv'a l'é
Avevo una bella colomba che è volata fuori casa
bianca come la neve che si scioglie a pian del sale
  dov'è dov'è dove dov'è

che l'han vursciua vedde cegâ l'àe a stù casâ
spéita cume l'aigua ch'à derua zû p'ou rià
  Nu ghe n'é nu ghe nu ghe n'é nu ghe n'é
che l'hanno vista piegare le ali verso questo casale
veloce come l'acqua che precipita dal rio
  non ce n'è non ce non ce n'è non ce n'è

Padre:
Cau ou mè zuenottu ve porta miga na smangiaxun
che se cuscì fise puriesci anàvene 'n gattixun
Nu ghe n'é nu ghe n'é nu ghe n'é nu ghe nu ghe n'é
Caro il mio giovanotto
non vi porta mica qualche prurito
che se così fosse
potreste andarvene in giro per amorazzi
  non ce n'è non ce n'è non ce n'è non ce non ce n'è

Pretendente:
Vegnu d'â câ du rattu ch'ou magun ou sliga i pë
Vegnu c'ou coeu marottu de 'na pasciun
che nu ghe n'è nu ghe n'è
Vengo dalla casa del topo
che l'angoscia slega i piedi
Vengo con il cuore malato di una passione
che non ha uguali
Padre:
Chi de cumbe d'âtri ne n'é vegnûe nu se n'é pose
Chi gh'é 'na cumba gianca ch'â nu l'é â vostra
ch'â l'é a me nu ghe n'é
  âtre nu ghe n'é âtre nu ghe n'é nu ghe n'é
Qui di colombe d'altri non ne son venute
non se ne son posate
Qui c'è una colomba bianca che non è la vostra
che è la mia non ce n'è
  Altre non ce n'è altre non ce n'è non ce n'è

Coro:
  A l'e xëuâ â l'é xëuâ a cumba gianca
  A l'e xëuâ â l'é xëuâ au cian d'â sâ
  A l'e xëuâ â l'é xëuâ â cumba gianca
  de mazu â truvian au cian d'ou pan.
  E' volata è volata la colomba bianca
  E' volata è volata a pian del sale
  E' volata è volata la colomba bianca
  di maggio la troveranno al pian del pane

Pretendente:
Vui nu vuriesci dàmela sta cumba da maiâ
gianca cum'â neie ch'à deslengue 'nt où rià
  Nu ghe n'é nu ghe n'é
Voi non vorreste darmela questa colomba da maritare
bianca come la neve che si scioglie nel rio.
  non ce n'è non ce n'è

Padre:
Miæ che sta comba bella
a stâ de longo a barbacîo
che no m'a pòsse vedde a scricchî 'nte
'n atro nîo nu ghe n'é
  Nu ghe n'é nu ghe n'é
Guardate che questa colomba bella
sta sempre a cinguettio
che non la possa vedere crescere
in un altro nido non ce n'è.
  non ce n'è non ce n'è

Pretendente:
A tegnio à dindanàse suttà 'n angiou de melgranâ
cù a cua ch'ou l'ha d'â sèa
â man lingèa d'ou bambaxia
  Duv'a duv'a l'é duv'a duv'a l'é duv'a l'é duv'a l'é
La terrò a dondolarsi sotto una pergola di melograni
con la cura che ha della seta
la mano leggera del bambagiaio
  dove dov'è dove dov'è dov'è dov'è

Padre:
Zuenu ch'âei bén parlòu
'nte sta seian-a de frevâ
Saèi che sta cumba à mazu
a xeuâ d'â më 'nt â vostra câ
Giovane che avete ben parlato
in questa sera di febbraio
Sappiate che questa colomba a maggio
volerà dalla mia nella vostra casa
Pretendente:
A tegnio à dindanàse suttà 'n angiou de melgranâ
Cu 'â cua ch'ou l'ha d'â sea â mân lingea d'ou bambaxia
  âtre nu ghe n'é nu ghe nu ghe n'é âtre nu ghe n'é
La terrò a dondolarsi sotto una pergola di melograni
Con la cura che ha della seta
la mano leggera del bambagiaio
  Altre non ce n'è non ce non ce n'è altre non ce n'è

Coro:
  A l'e xëuâ â l'é xëuâ a cumba gianca
  de noette â l'é xëuâ au cian d'â sâ
  A truvian â truvian â cumba gianca
  de mazu â truvian au cian d'ou pan.
  E' volata è volata la colomba bianca
  di notte è volata a pian del sale
  La troveranno la troveranno la colomba bianca
  di maggio la troveranno a pian del pane
  Duv'a l'é duv'a l'é ch'â ne s'ascunde
  se maia se maia au cian dou pan
  cum'a l'é cum'a l'é l'é cum'â neie
  ch'â ven zu deslenguâ da où rià.
  dov'è dov'è che ci si nasconde
  si sposerà si sposerà a pian del pane
  Com'è com'è è come la neve
  che viene giù sciolta dal rio
  A l'e xëuâ â l'é xëuâ a cumba gianca
  de mazu â truvian au cian d'â sâ
  Duv'a l'é duv'a l'é ch'â ne s'ascunde
  se maia se maia au cian dou pan
  E' volata è volata la colomba bianca
  di maggio la troveranno al pian del sale
  dov'è dov'è che ci si nasconde
  si sposerà si sposerà al pian del pane

Cùmba cumbétta beccu de séa
sérva à striggiùn c'ou maiu 'n giandùn
Martin ou và à pë cun' l'aze deré
foegu de légne anime in çé.
Colomba colombina becco di seta
serva a strofinare per terra
col marito a zonzo
Martino va a piedi con l'asino dietro
fuoco di legna anime in cielo

Cùmba cumbétta beccu de séa
sérva à striggiùn c'ou maiu 'n giandùn
Martin ou và à pë cun' l'aze deré
foegu de légne anime in çé.
Colomba colombina becco di seta
serva a strofinare per terra
col marito a zonzo
Martino va a piedi con l'asino dietro
fuoco di legna anime in cielo


 cúmba © 1996 Fabrizio De André/Ivano Fossati

"Â cúmba" is in sharp contrast to "Disamistade." It presents the possibility that a confrontation (between the suitor and the protective father) can end in agreement between simple people, far from the central authority of the state. The percussion in the song, beginning around 1:09, comes from a fragment of a recording by the Japanese taiko drum group Kodō that Piero Milesi found in his music collection after a long search to find just the right rhythm for the song.



Suitor:



I had a beautiful dove that flew out of the house,
white like the snow that melts on the salt plain,
  (Where is it, where is it?)




that they saw fold its wings near this farmhouse,
fast like the water that rushes from the stream.
  (There isn’t one, no there no there isn’t one, there isn’t one.)
Father:



My dear young man,
are you not carrying an itch in your pants,
that if it were this way,
you could go out and about for a quickie.
  (There isn’t one, there isn’t one, there isn’t one,
no there no there isn’t one.)
Suitor:



I come from the house of the rat
where anguish unbinds the feet,
I come with a heart aching from a passion
that has no equal.
Father:




Here none of the others’ doves have come,
not if they were sitting.
Here there’s a white dove that isn’t yours,
that is mine, there isn’t one.
  (There aren’t any others, there aren’t any others, there isn’t one)
Chorus:




She’s flown, she’s flown, the white dove,
she’s flown, she’s flown to the salt plain.
She’s flown, she’s flown, the white dove,
in May they’ll find her at the bread plain.

Suitor:



Would you not like to give me this dove to marry?
White like the snow that dissolves in the stream.
  (There isn’t one, there isn’t one.)

Father:





See that this beautiful dove
is always chirping,
that I can’t see her growing up
in another nest, there isn’t one.
  (There isn’t one, there isn’t one.)

Suitor:




I held her swaying under a pomegranate arbor,
with the care the light hand of a mollycoddler
has with silk.
  (Where where is she, where where is she, where is she,
  where is she?)
Father:




Young man who spoke well
this February evening,
you know that this dove in May
will fly from my to your house.
Suitor:



I held her swaying under a pomegranate arbor,
with the care the light hand of a mollycoddler
has with silk..
  (Others there aren’t any, there aren’t there aren’t any,
  there aren’t any of them.)
Chorus:




She flew, she flew, the white dove.
At night she flew to the salt plain.
They’ll find her, they’ll find her, the white dove.
In May they’ll find her at the bread plain.




Where is she, where is she who is hiding there?
She’ll marry, she’ll marry at the bread plain.
How is she, how is she? She’s like the snow
that comes down dissolved by the stream.




She flew, she flew, the white dove.
In May they’ll find her in the salt plain.
Where is she, where is she who is hiding there?
She’ll marry, she’ll marry in the bread plain.





Dove, little dove, beak of silk,
maid scrubbing the floor
with your husband out wandering.
Martino goes by foot with his donkey behind,
wood fire, spirits in heaven.





Dove, little dove, beak of silk,
maid scrubbing the floor
with your husband out wandering.
Martino goes by foot with his donkey behind,
wood fire, spirits in heaven.

English translation © 2014 Dennis Criteser



Anime salve was released in 1996, the last of De André's thirteen studio albums. The songs were co-written by De André and Ivano Fossati, and the studio recording was co-produced by De André and Piero Milesi. De André referred to the album both as "a type of eulogy for solitude" and "a discourse on freedom." Here you will discover an album with De André at his full powers as lyricist and singer with his rich baritone in a musical setting that is striking, musically sophisticated and varied, with musical references to South America, the Balkans and the Mediterranean. The album was voted best Italian album of 1997 by the readers of La Repubblica and critics voted De André as the best Italian artist. The album also received the prestigious Targa Tenco prize for best album of 1997.
Back to Album List         Back to Song List

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Anime salve
    Ho visto Nina volare - I Saw Nina Flying

Mastica e sputa
da una parte il miele
mastica e sputa
dall'altra la cera
mastica e sputa
prima che venga neve

luce luce lontana
più bassa delle stelle
sarà la stessa mano
che ti accende e ti spegne

ho visto Nina volare
tra le corde dell'altalena
un giorno la prenderò
come fa il vento alla schiena
e se lo sa mio padre
dovrò cambiar paese
se mio padre lo sa
mi imbarcherò sul mare

Mastica e sputa
da una parte il miele
mastica e sputa
dall'altra la cera
mastica e sputa
prima che faccia neve

stanotte è venuta l'ombra
l'ombra che mi fa il verso
le ho mostrato il coltello
e la mia maschera di gelso
e se lo sa mio padre
mi metterò in cammino
se mio padre lo sa
mi imbarcherò lontano

mastica e sputa
da una parte la cera
mastica e sputa
dall'altra parte il miele
mastica e sputa
prima che metta neve

ho visto Nina volare
tra le corde dell'altalena
un giorno la prenderò
come fa il vento alla schiena
luce luce lontana
che si accende e si spegne
quale sarà la mano
che illumina le stelle

mastica e sputa
prima che venga neve

Ho visto Nina volare © 1996 Fabrizio De André/Ivano Fossati

"Ho visto Nina volare" derives its title from De André's childhood when he lived in the mountains during the war and his childhood playmate was a girl named Nina. The opening and recurring verse about chewing and spitting stems from De André and Fossati having observed old women beekeepers in southern Italy doing just that in order to separate honey from the wax. The image is a wonderful symbol for the old traditional ways that know how to make use of the gifts of nature, and refers to the central theme of the song - the desire of the young to grow up and become independent, to move out from under the authority of the elders, while at the same time being fearful of the unknown. The song is enchanting in its simplicity, and unlike all the other songs on this album, which were reworked and refined intensely, "Ho visto Nina volare" came together within the course of an hour. De André had been working on a lyric inspired by a traditional song he had heard covered by Caetano Veloso, and Fossati had been refining independently a delicate guitar part that had taken shape over a few days. When De André asked Fossati to listen to his lyric, Fossati immediately thought it would go with his guitar. The combination worked and was in final form in just 40 minutes.

Chew and spit,
into one part the honey,
chew and spit,
into the other the wax.
Chew and spit,
before the snow comes.

Light, distant light,
lower than the stars,
it will be the very same hand
that turns you on and turns you off.

I saw Nina flying
between the ropes of the swing.
One day I’ll take her
as does the wind at her back.
And if my father knows about it,
I'll have to change locales.
If my father knows of it,
I’ll embark on the sea.

Chew and spit,
into one part the honey,
chew and spit,
into the other the wax.
Chew and spit,
before it gets snowy.

Tonight a shadow has come,
a shadow that imitates me.
I showed it the knife
and my mulberry mask,
and if my father knows about it,
I’ll take to the road.
If my father knows of it,
I’ll embark for afar.

Chew and spit,
into one part the wax,
chew and spit,
into the other part the honey.
Chew and spit,
before the snow sets in.

I saw Nina flying
between the ropes of the swing.
One day I’ll take her
as does the wind at her back.
Light, distant light
that turns on and turns off.
Which will be the hand
that lights up the stars?

Chew and spit,
before the snow comes.

English translation © 2014 Dennis Criteser



Anime salve was released in 1996, the last of De André's thirteen studio albums. The songs were co-written by De André and Ivano Fossati, and the studio recording was co-produced by De André and Piero Milesi. De André referred to the album both as "a type of eulogy for solitude" and "a discourse on freedom." Here you will discover an album with De André at his full powers as lyricist and singer with his rich baritone in a musical setting that is striking, musically sophisticated and varied, with musical references to South America, the Balkans and the Mediterranean. The album was voted best Italian album of 1997 by the readers of La Repubblica and critics voted De André as the best Italian artist. The album also received the prestigious Targa Tenco prize for best album of 1997.
Back to Album List         Back to Song List

Monday, December 1, 2014

Anime salve
    Smisurata preghiera - Boundless Prayer

Alta sui naufragi
dai belvedere delle torri
china e distante
sugli elementi del disastro
dalle cose che accadono
al disopra delle parole
celebrative del nulla
lungo un facile vento
di sazietà di impunità

Sullo scandalo metallico
di armi in uso e in disuso
a guidare la colonna
di dolore e di fumo
che lascia le infinite battaglie
al calar della sera
la maggioranza sta
la maggioranza sta

recitando un rosario
di ambizioni meschine
di millenarie paure
di inesauribili astuzie
coltivando tranquilla
l'orribile varietà
delle proprie superbie
la maggioranza sta

come una malattia
come una sfortuna
come un'anestesia
come un'abitudine

per chi viaggia in direzione
ostinata e contraria
col suo marchio speciale
di speciale disperazione
e tra il vomito dei respinti
muove gli ultimi passi
per consegnare alla morte
una goccia di splendore
di umanità di verità

per chi ad Aqaba curò la lebbra
con uno scettro posticcio
e seminò il suo passaggio
di gelosie devastatrici e di figli
con improbabili nomi
di cantanti di tango
in un vasto programma
di eternità

ricorda Signore
questi servi disobbedienti
alle leggi del branco
non dimenticare il loro volto
che dopo tanto sbandare
è appena giusto che la fortuna li aiuti

come una svista
come un'anomalia
come una distrazione
come un dovere

Smisurata preghiera © 1996 Fabrizio De André/Ivano Fossati

"Smisurata preghiera" is a song where again the lyrics were from De André and the music from Fossati. Five years prior, De André had discovered the writings of the Colombian Alvaro Mutis. He was so taken with them that he reached out to Mutis and asked if he would have any objections to De André taking lines from his books to use in a song he wanted to write. Mutis was game, and De André proceeded to use lines from two novels and one anthology of poems, putting them together and rearranging and changing them until he had built the song he had in mind. To give a couple examples, the opening lines of the song - "High above the shipwrecks from the viewpoint of the towers" comes from Mutis's poem "Stars for Arthur Rimbaud" which includes the line "And from the viewpoint of the highest tower." From another poem, "The Elements of Disaster," De André wove the title into the line "bowed and distant over the elements of disaster." In the first half of the song De André posits a cultural majority that stands above the disastrous fray, insensitive, prideful, small of spirit and going along with the world as it is. The second half of the song brings in those who go their own way, against the tide of the mainstream culture, and De André would include in this mix all marginalized people - the poor, social outcasts, and rebels of many stripes. The song then becomes an invocation and prayer that these "servants disobedient to the laws of the herd" will also be held in the Lord's thoughts and that, perhaps, some good fortune will, even ought, to come their way.




"For one who travels in a direction stubborn and contrary, with his special mark of special desperation, and through the vomit of the rejected, he moves the final steps to deliver to death a drop of splendor, of humanity, of truth."
High above the shipwrecks
from the lookouts of the towers,
bowed and distant
over the elements of disaster
from the things that happen
above the words
commemorative of nothing,
along an easy wind
of satiety, of impunity,

on the metallic scandal
of arms in use or disuse
for guiding the column
of sadness and smoke
that leaves the infinite battles
at the falling of night,
the majority stands,
the majority stands.

Reciting a rosary
of petty ambitions,
of thousand-year-old fears,
of inexhaustible tricks,
cultivating calm,
the terrible variety
of their own arrogances,
the majority stands.

Like an illness,
like a misfortune,
like an anesthetic,
like a habit.

For one who travels in a direction
stubborn and contrary,
with his special mark
of special desperation,
and through the vomit of the rejected,
he moves the final steps
to deliver unto death
a drop of splendor,
of humanity, of truth.

For him who at Aqaba cured leprosy
with a faux scepter
and sowed his passage
with devastating jealousies and children
with improbable names,
with singers of tango
in a vast program
of eternity.

Remember, Lord,
these servants disobedient
to the laws of the herd.
Don’t forget their face
that, after so much disbanding,
it’s just right that luck helps them.

Like an oversight,
like an anomaly,
like a distraction,
like a duty.

English translation © 2014 Dennis Criteser



Anime salve was released in 1996, the last of De André's thirteen studio albums. The songs were co-written by De André and Ivano Fossati, and the studio recording was co-produced by De André and Piero Milesi. De André referred to the album both as "a type of eulogy for solitude" and "a discourse on freedom." Here you will discover an album with De André at his full powers as lyricist and singer with his rich baritone in a musical setting that is striking, musically sophisticated and varied, with musical references to South America, the Balkans and the Mediterranean. The album was voted best Italian album of 1997 by the readers of La Repubblica and critics voted De André as the best Italian artist. The album also received the prestigious Targa Tenco prize for best album of 1997.


Ivano Fossati
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Saturday, November 8, 2014

Le nuvole:
    Le nuvole - Clouds

Vanno
vengono
ogni tanto si fermano
e quando si fermano
sono nere come il corvo
sembra che ti guardano con malocchio

Certe volte sono bianche
e corrono
e prendono la forma dell'airone
o della pecora
o di qualche altra bestia
ma questo lo vedono meglio i bambini
che giocano a corrergli dietro per tanti metri

Certe volte ti avvisano con rumore
prima di arrivare
e la terra si trema
e gli animali si stanno zitti
certe volte ti avvisano con rumore

Vengono
vanno
ritornano
e magari si fermano tanti giorni
che non vedi più il sole e le stelle
e ti sembra di non conoscere più
il posto dove stai

Vanno
vengono
per una vera
mille sono finte
e si mettono li tra noi e il cielo
per lasciarci soltanto una voglia di pioggia.

Le nuvole © 1990 Fabrizio De André/Mauro Pagani

For the opening song of the album, De André chose to have the lyrics recited by two women, one old and one young, who "represented Mother Earth." But the clouds are not intended to be clouds in the sky. "They are these intrusive and damaging characters of our civic, political and economic life that I'm trying to describe in the first part of the album, along with some of their victims. These clouds are the figures who hold power, with all of their arrogance, as bad examples. I was inspired by Aristophanes. . . . My clouds are all those who are terrified of the new, because the new could subvert their positions of power."



They go,
they come,
every so often they stop,
and when they stop
they are black like the crow.
It seems they’re giving you the evil eye.

Certain times they are white
and they run
and they take the form of the egret,
or of the ram
or of some other beast.
But this they see better, the children,
who play at running after them for so many meters.

Certain times they warn you with noise
before arriving
and the earth trembles
and the animals stay still.
Certain times they warn you with noise.

They come,
they go,
they return,
and maybe they stop for so many days
that you no longer see the sun or the stars,
and you don’t seem to know any more
the place where you are.

They go,
they come.
For every true one
a thousand are fake
and were put there between us and the sky
to leave us with only a longing for rain.

English translation © 2014 Dennis Criteser


It took six years after the tremendous success of Creuza de mä for De André to release his next studio album, Le nuvole (The Clouds). In the meantime, he and Mauro Pagani explored several avenues of musical collaboration which did not come to fruition. De André had this to say about Le nuvole: "I realized that people are just pissed off, and since Le nuvole is a symbol of this dissatisfaction, the transference, the intermediary for this general discontent, I would say that the album was welcomed almost as a banner, like an emblem of the anger in the face of a nation that is going to the dogs, and certainly not through any fault of the citizens." Additionally, Mauro Pagani said the album was a fantastic description of Italy in the 1980s, with parallels to Europe in the early 1800s: "Italy in the early 1980s was like Europe in 1815: the Congress of Vienna, the fall of the Napoleonic empire, the sharing of the goods among the winning powers, social classes built on wealth instead of aristocracy, a society of fake Christianity . . ." The title of and inspiration for the album came from the comedy of the same name by Aristophanes, whom De André greatly admired.
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Friday, November 7, 2014

Le nuvole:
    Ottocento - The Eighteen Hundreds

Cantami di questo tempo
l'astio e il malcontento
di chi è sottovento
e non vuol sentir l'odore
di questo motor
che ci porta avanti
quasi tutti quanti
maschi , femmine e cantanti
su un tappeto di contanti
nel cielo blu

Figlia della mia famiglia
sei la meraviglia
già matura e ancora pura
come la verdura di papà

Figlio bello e audace
bronzo di Versace
figlio sempre più capace
di giocare in borsa
di stuprare in corsa e tu
moglie dalle larghe maglie
dalle molte voglie
esperta di anticaglie
scatole d'argento ti regalerò

Ottocento
Novecento
Millecinquecento scatole d'argento
Fine Settecento ti regalerò

Quanti pezzi di ricambio
quante meraviglie
quanti articoli di scambio
quante belle figlie da sposar
e quante belle valvole e pistoni
fegati e polmoni
e quante belle biglie a rotolar
e quante belle triglie nel mar

Figlio figlio
povero figlio
eri bello bianco e vermiglio
quale intruglio ti ha perduto nel Naviglio
figlio figlio
unico sbaglio
annegato come un coniglio
per ferirmi , pugnalarmi nell'orgoglio
a me a me
che ti trattavo come un figlio
povero me
domani andrà meglio

Eine kleine pinzimonie
wunder matrimonie
krauten und erbeeren
und patellen und arsellen
fischen Zanzibar
und einige krapfen
früer vor schlafen
und erwachen mit der walzer
und die Alka-Seltzer für
dimenticar

Quanti pezzi di ricambio
quante meraviglie
quanti articoli di scambio
quante belle figlie da giocar
e quante belle valvole e pistoni
fegati e polmoni
e quante belle biglie a rotolar
e quante belle triglie nel mar.

Ottocento © 1990 Fabrizio De André/Mauro Pagani

In "Ottocento," De André sings in the style of opera buffa and the song ends with Tyrolean yodeling, the idea being to describe 20th century society in 19th century style. He explains that "it's a style of singing falsely cultured, an approach suggested to me by the pomposity of a character who, more than a man, is a vacuum cleaner: he breathes in sweet sentiments, affections, vital organs and objects in front of him to which he displays a single mental attitude: the possibility of buying and selling them. . . . Here is painted a portrait of the bourgeoisie, in the exact moment of its affirmation of power: the world of the protagonist is dominated by money and by huge quantities of merchandise." The phrase "bronze of Versace" calls to mind the Riace Bronzes, a nice contrast between the superficial and fleeting beauty that pop culture craves and the more enduring beauty of past treasures of art.




A live excerpt of "Ottocento" from a 1991 tour starts at 2:40.
Sing to me about this time,
the hatred and the discontent
of whoever is downwind
and doesn’t want to smell the odor
of this engine
that carries us forward,
almost everyone -
males, females and singers -
on a carpet of cash
in the blue sky.

Daughter of my family,
you are a marvel,
already mature and still pure
like papa’s vegetables.

Bold and handsome son,
bronze of Versace,
son ever more capable
of playing in the markets,
of raping while in motion, and you,
wife of big sweaters,
of many desires,
expert in old junk,
silver boxes I will give to you.

The eighteen hundreds,
the nineteen hundreds,
fifteen hundred fine silver boxes
of the late seventeen hundreds I'll give to you.

How many spare parts,
how many marvels,
how many articles of exchange,
how many beautiful daughters to marry,
and how many good valves and pistons,
livers and lungs!
And how many pretty marbles to roll,
and how many fine mullet fish in the sea!

Son, son,
poor son,
you were handsome white and vermilion.
Which shady business lost you in the waterway?
Son, son,
only mistake,
drowned like a rabbit
to hurt me, to stab my pride,
to me, to me,
who treated you like a son,
poor me,
tomorrow will go better.

A little pinzimonio,
wonderful marriage,
sauerkraut and strawberries
and limpets and clams,
Zanzibar fishes
and some donut
early before sleeping,
and waking up with the waltz
and the Alka-Seltzer for
forgetting.

How many replacement parts,
how many marvels,
how many articles of exchange,
how many beautiful daughters for playing,
and how many good valves and pistons,
livers and lungs!
And how many pretty marbles to roll,
and how many fine mullet fish in the sea!

English translation © 2014 Dennis Criteser


It took six years after the tremendous success of Creuza de mä for De André to release his next studio album, Le nuvole (The Clouds). In the meantime, he and Mauro Pagani explored several avenues of musical collaboration which did not come to fruition. De André had this to say about Le nuvole: "I realized that people are just pissed off, and since Le nuvole is a symbol of this dissatisfaction, the transference, the intermediary for this general discontent, I would say that the album was welcomed almost as a banner, like an emblem of the anger in the face of a nation that is going to the dogs, and certainly not through any fault of the citizens." Additionally, Mauro Pagani said the album was a fantastic description of Italy in the 1980s, with parallels to Europe in the early 1800s: "Italy in the early 1980s was like Europe in 1815: the Congress of Vienna, the fall of the Napoleonic empire, the sharing of the goods among the winning powers, social classes built on wealth instead of aristocracy, a society of fake Christianity . . ." The title of and inspiration for the album came from the comedy of the same name by Aristophanes, whom De André greatly admired.
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Thursday, November 6, 2014

Le nuvole:
    Don Raffaè

Io mi chiamo Pasquale Cafiero
e son brigadiere del carcere oinè
io mi chiamo Cafiero Pasquale
sto a Poggio Reale dal '53

e al centesimo catenaccio
alla sera mi sento uno straccio
per fortuna che al braccio speciale
c'è un uomo geniale che parla co' me

Tutto il giorno con quattro infamoni
briganti, papponi, cornuti e lacchè
tutte l'ore cò 'sta fetenzia
che sputa minaccia e s'à piglia cò me

ma alla fine m'assetto papale
mi sbottono e mi leggo 'o giornale
mi consiglio con don Raffae'
mi spiega che penso e bevimm'ò cafè

A che bell'ò cafè
pure in carcere 'o sanno fa
co' à ricetta ch'à Ciccirinella
compagno di cella
ci ha dato mammà

Prima pagina venti notizie
ventuno ingiustizie e lo Stato che fa
si costerna, s'indigna, s'impegna
poi getta la spugna con gran dignità
mi scervello e mi asciugo la fronte
per fortuna c'è chi mi risponde
a quell'uomo sceltissimo immenso
io chiedo consenso a don Raffaè

Un galantuomo che tiene sei figli
ha chiesto una casa e ci danno consigli
mentre 'o assessore che Dio lo perdoni
'ndrento a 'e roullotte ci tiene i visoni
voi vi basta una mossa una voce
c'ha 'sto Cristo ci levano 'a croce
con rispetto s'è fatto le tre
volite 'a spremuta o volite 'o cafè

A che bell'ò cafè
pure in carcere 'o sanno fa
co' à ricetta ch'à Ciccirinella
compagno di cella
ci ha dato mammà

A che bell'ò cafè
pure in carcere 'o sanno fa
co' à ricetta ch'à Ciccirinella
compagno di cella
preciso a mammà

Qui ci stà l'inflazione, la svalutazione
e la borsa ce l'ha chi ce l'ha
io non tengo compendio che chillo stipendio
e un ambo se sogno 'a papà
aggiungete mia figlia Innocenza
vuo' marito non tiene pazienza
non chiedo la grazia pe' me
vi faccio la barba o la fate da sé

Voi tenete un cappotto cammello
che al maxi processo eravate 'o chiù bello
un vestito gessato marrone
così ci è sembrato alla televisione
pe' 'ste nozze vi prego Eccellenza
mi prestasse pe' fare presenza
io già tengo le scarpe e 'o gillè
gradite 'o Campari o volite 'o cafè

A che bell'ò cafè
pure in carcere 'o sanno fa
co' à ricetta ch'à Ciccirinella
compagno di cella
ci ha dato mammà

A che bell'ò cafè
pure in carcere 'o sanno fa
co' à ricetta ch'à Ciccirinella
compagno di cella
preciso a mamma

Qui non c'è più decoro le carceri d'oro
ma chi l'ha mai viste chissà
chiste so' fatiscienti pe' chisto i fetienti
se tengono l'immunità

don Raffaè voi politicamente
io ve lo giuro sarebbe 'no santo
ma 'ca dinto voi state a pagà
e fora chiss'atre se stanno a spassà

A proposito tengo 'no frate
che da quindici anni sta disoccupato
chill'ha fatto cinquanta concorsi
novanta domande e duecento ricorsi
voi che date conforto e lavoro
Eminenza vi bacio v'imploro
chillo duorme co' mamma e co' me
che crema d'Arabia ch'è chisto cafè

Don Raffaè © 1990 Fabrizio De André/Mauro Pagani/Massimo Bubola

"Don Raffaè" is based on the Italian crime boss Raffaele Cutolo, who has spent most of his life in prisons since 1963. Through his charisma and relational skills he was able to build and control a crime organization from within prison, and was also able to lead a remarkably comfortable life, complete with a personal chef to supply him his daily meals of lobster and wine. The chorus makes reference to Domenico Modugno's 1958 paean to coffee, "'O ccafe'", and to the importance of coffee in the cultural life of Naples.



My name is Pasquale Cafiero
and I’m the prison C.O. Sergeant.
My name is Cafiero Pasquale,
I’ve been at Poggio Reale since ’53.

And by the hundredth deadbolt
of the evening I feel like a wet rag,
lucky that in the special wing
there’s a brilliant man who speaks with me.

All day long with four villains –
robbers, pimps, bastards and lackeys –
all the hours with this rottenness
that spews threats and that rags on me.

But in the end I seat myself pope-like,
I unbutton, and read me the paper.
I consult with don Raffaè.
He explains my thinking, and we drink coffee.

Ah what great coffee –
even in jail they know how to make it,
with the recipe that
cellmate Ciccirinella’s mama
gave to him.

Front page, twenty news items,
twenty-one injustices, and what does the State do?
It’s dismayed, it’s indignant, it makes a pledge,
then it throws in the towel with great dignity.
I puzzle over it, dry my forehead,
luckily there is one who answers me.
Of that man, immense and most refined,
of don Raffaè I ask for his consensus.

A gentleman, who has six children,
requested a house and they gave advice,
while the alderman, may God pardon him,
raises minks inside these trailers.
From you, one move, one voice is enough,
for this Christ they take away the cross.
With respect, it’s three o'clock,
do you want the juice or do you want the coffee?

Ah what great coffee –
even in jail they know how to make it,
with the recipe that
cellmate Ciccirinella's mama
gave to him.

Ah what great coffee –
even in jail they know how to make it,
with the recipe of
cellmate Ciccirinella,
exactly like mama’s.

Here there’s inflation, devaluation,
and the stock market has it, whoever has it,
I don’t hold a sum save for that salary of mine
and two lottery numbers if I dream of papa.
Add my daughter Innocenza.
She wants a husband, she has no patience.
I don’t beg for mercy for myself.
Do I shave you or do you do it by yourself?

You hold a camel hair coat
that at the Maxi Trial you were the most handsome,
a brown pinstripe suit,
so it seemed on TV.
For this wedding, I pray of you, your Excellence,
lend it to me to make a good appearance.
I already have the shoes and the vest,
do you like the Campari or do you want the coffee?

Ah what great coffee –
even in jail they know how to make it,
with the recipe that
cellmate Ciccirinella’s mama
gave to him.

Ah what great coffee –
even in jail they know how to make it,
with the recipe of
cellmate Ciccirinella,
exactly like mama’s.

Here there’s no more decorum, the prisons of gold -
but who ever saw them, who knows?
These are crumbling, for this reason the bastards
keep their immunity.

Don Raffaè – you, politically,
I swear it, you'd be a saint.
But here inside you have to pay,
and outside these others are amusing themselves.

Speaking of which, I have a brother
who for fifteen years has been unemployed.
That one’s done fifty competitive exams,
ninety applications and two hundred appeals.
You who give comfort and work,
Your Eminence I kiss you, I implore you:
that one sleeps with mama and with me.
What cream of Arabia this coffee is!

English translation © 2014 Dennis Criteser


It took six years after the tremendous success of Creuza de mä for De André to release his next studio album, Le nuvole (The Clouds). In the meantime, he and Mauro Pagani explored several avenues of musical collaboration which did not come to fruition. De André had this to say about Le nuvole: "I realized that people are just pissed off, and since Le nuvole is a symbol of this dissatisfaction, the transference, the intermediary for this general discontent, I would say that the album was welcomed almost as a banner, like an emblem of the anger in the face of a nation that is going to the dogs, and certainly not through any fault of the citizens." Additionally, Mauro Pagani said the album was a fantastic description of Italy in the 1980s, with parallels to Europe in the early 1800s: "Italy in the early 1980s was like Europe in 1815: the Congress of Vienna, the fall of the Napoleonic empire, the sharing of the goods among the winning powers, social classes built on wealth instead of aristocracy, a society of fake Christianity . . ." The title of and inspiration for the album came from the comedy of the same name by Aristophanes, whom De André greatly admired.
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