Thursday, May 8, 2014

Storia di un impiegato:
   Canzone del maggio - May Song

Anche se il nostro maggio
ha fatto a meno del vostro coraggio
se la paura di guardare
vi ha fatto chinare il mento
se il fuoco ha risparmiato
le vostre Millecento
anche se voi vi credete assolti
siete lo stesso coinvolti.

E se vi siete detti
non sta succedendo niente,
le fabbriche riapriranno,
arresteranno qualche studente
convinti che fosse un gioco
a cui avremmo giocato poco
provate pure a credervi assolti
siete lo stesso coinvolti.

Anche se avete chiuso
le vostre porte sul nostro muso
la notte che le "pantere"
ci mordevano il sedere
lasciandoci in buonafede
massacrare sui marciapiedi
anche se ora ve ne fregate,
voi quella notte voi c'eravate.

E se nei vostri quartieri
tutto è rimasto come ieri,
senza le barricate
senza feriti, senza granate,
se avete preso per buone
le "verità" della televisione
anche se allora vi siete assolti
siete lo stesso coinvolti.

E se credete ora
che tutto sia come prima
perché avete votato ancora
la sicurezza, la disciplina,
convinti di allontanare
la paura di cambiare
verremo ancora alle vostre porte
e grideremo ancora più forte
per quanto voi vi crediate assolti
siete per sempre coinvolti,
per quanto voi vi crediate assolti
siete per sempre coinvolti.

Canzone del maggio © 1973 Fabrizio De André/Giuseppe Bentivoglio/
Nicola Piovani


"Canzone del maggio" is the song listened to by the student rebels and heard by the worker, that sparks his personal reflections. The song is based on a song by Dominique Grange, "Chacun de vous est concerné" about the May 1968 events in France. Grange did not ask for any rights of authorship when De André contacted her about publication. The lyrics of "Canzone del maggio" reflect each of the concepts of the original, verse by verse.





Even if our May
did without your courage,
if the fear of looking
made you bow down your chin,
if the fire spared
your Fiat 1100’s,
even if you believe yourselves absolved,
you are, all the same, involved.

And if it was said to you all,
"Nothing is happening,
the factories will reopen,
they’ll arrest some students,"
convinced, you all are, it was a game
that we’ll have played little,
just try to believe yourselves absolved.
You are, all the same, involved.

Even if you had closed
your doors in our face
the night that the “panthers”
were biting our bottoms,
leaving us in good faith
to massacre on the sidewalks,
even if now you don’t give a damn,
all of you, that night, you all were there.

And if in your neighborhoods
everything remained as it was yesterday,
without the barricades,
without injuries, without grenades,
if you all had taken at face value
the “truths” of the television,
even if in that moment you're absolved,
you are, all the same, involved.

And if you all believe now
that everything is as before,
why have you still voted
the security, the discipline,
convinced of warding off
the fear of change?
We’ll still come to your doors
and we will shout even louder still.
As much as you believe yourselves absolved,
you’re all, forever, involved,
As much as you believe yourselves absolved;
you’re all, forever, involved.

English translation © 2014 Dennis Criteser



Storia di un impiegato, released in 1973, tells the story of a worker who, inspired by a song about the French student riots of May/June 1968, decides to become a revolutionary. De André hoped to make a poetic interpretation of the events of 1968, but wanted to burn the album upon its release because he felt it ended up as a political album, with him telling people how to act. The lyrics were co-written with Giuseppe Bentivoglio, and the resultant anarchist/Marxist texts are sometimes confusing and obscure. The music was co-written with Nicola Piovani, who also co-wrote Non al denaro non all'amore né al cielo.
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