Monday, February 10, 2014

Volume III:
   La canzone di Marinella - Marinella's Song

Questa di Marinella è la storia vera
che scivolò nel fiume a primavera
ma il vento che la vide così bella
dal fiume la portò sopra una stella

Sola senza il ricordo di un dolore
vivevi senza il sogno di un amore
ma un re senza corona e senza scorta
bussò tre volte un giorno alla tua porta

Bianco come la luna il suo cappello
come l'amore rosso il suo mantello
tu lo seguisti senza una ragione
come un ragazzo segue un aquilone

E c'era il sole e avevi gli occhi belli
lui ti baciò le labbra ed i capelli
c'era la luna e avevi gli occhi stanchi
lui pose le sue mani sui tuoi fianchi

Furono baci e furono sorrisi
poi furono soltanto i fiordalisi
che videro con gli occhi delle stelle
fremere al vento e ai baci la tua pelle

Dicono poi che mentre ritornavi
nel fiume chissà come scivolavi
e lui che non ti volle creder morta
bussò cent'anni ancora alla tua porta

Questa è la tua canzone Marinella
che sei volata in cielo su una stella
e come tutte le più belle cose
vivesti solo un giorno, come le rose

E come tutte le più belle cose
vivesti solo un giorno, come le rose

La canzone di Marinella © 1964 Fabrizio De André

"La canzone di Marinella" is perhaps the most famous of De André's songs, and when it was covered with great success by the Italian artist Mina in late 1967 it allowed De André to give up his day job and concentrate on songwriting. The song itself was based on the true story of a girl who became orphaned and then took to the streets to make money. She was murdered by a client. When he read the story, De André's impulse was to do something to help, in the only way he could - with a song, written as a way to change her death and to sweeten it somehow, given that we have no powers to change the events of someone's life.



This story of Marinella is the true story,
that she slipped into the river one spring.
But the wind that saw her so beautiful
carried her from the river onto a star.

Alone with no memory of sorrow,
you lived without the dream of a love.
But a king, without his crown and without escort,
knocked three times one day on your door.

White as the moon his hat,
and like the flush of love his cloak.
You followed him without any reason,
like a child chases after a kite.

And it was sunny and your eyes were beautiful,
he kissed your lips and your hair.
Then came the moon and your eyes were tired,
he placed his hands on your hips.

There were kisses and there were smiles,
then there were only fleurs-de-lis
that saw with the eyes of the stars
your skin trembling in the wind and the kisses.

They say then that while you were returning
you slipped into the river, who knows how?
And he, not wanting to believe you dead,
knocked a hundred years more at your door.

This is your song, Marinella,
that you flew to heaven on a star.
And like all of the most beautiful things,
you lived only one day, like the roses.

And like all the most beautiful things,
you lived only one day, like the roses.

English translation © 2014 Dennis Criteser



Volume III, released in 1968 just three months after the release of Tutti morimmo a stento, included four new songs along with re-recorded versions of other songs released previously as singles. The new songs weren't originals, however: two translations of Georges Brassens songs, a 13th century Italian sonnet set to music, and a traditional 14th century French song. The lack of originals and the timing of the release points to the fact that De André's label wanted to release something on the heels of the huge success of the Mina cover of "Marinella" that was released at the end of 1967. Volume III had strong sales for two years following its release.
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