Sunday, August 3, 2014

Rimini:
    Sally

Mia madre mi disse - Non devi giocare
con gli zingari nel bosco.
Mia madre mi disse - Non devi giocare
con gli zingari nel bosco.

Ma il bosco era scuro l'erba già verde
lì venne Sally con un tamburello
ma il bosco era scuro l'erba già alta
dite a mia madre che non tornerò.

Andai verso il mare senza barche per traversare
spesi cento lire per un pesciolino d'oro.
Andai verso il mare senza barche per traversare
spesi cento lire per un pesciolino cieco.

Gli montai sulla groppa sparii in un baleno
andate a dire a Sally che non tornerò.
Gli montai sulla groppa sparii in un momento
dite a mia madre che non tornerò.

Vicino alla città trovai Pilar del mare
con due gocce d'eroina s'addormentava il cuore.
Vicino alle roulottes trovai Pilar dei meli
bocca sporca di mirtilli un coltello in mezzo ai seni.

Mi svegliai sulla quercia l'assassino era fuggito
dite al pesciolino che non tornerò.
Mi guardai nello stagno
l'assassino s'era già lavato
dite a mia madre che non tornerò.

Seduto sotto un ponte si annusava il re dei topi
sulla strada le sue bambole bruciavano copertoni.
Sdraiato sotto il ponte si adorava il re dei topi
sulla strada le sue bambole adescavano i signori.

Mi parlò sulla bocca mi donò un braccialetto
dite alla quercia che non tornerò.
Mi baciò sulla bocca mi propose il suo letto
dite a mia madre che non tornerò.

Mia madre mi disse - Non devi giocare
con gli zingari nel bosco.
Ma il bosco era scuro l'erba già verde
lì venne Sally con un tamburello.

Sally © 1978 Fabrizio De André/Massimo Bubola

"Sally" is the fable of a boy who leaves home to discover the world. Like "Volta la carta," the song has as a point of take-off a nursery rhyme, English in this case:

My mother said that I never should
Play with the gypsies in the wood,
The wood was dark; the grass was green;
In came Sally with a tambourine.
I went to the sea - no ship to get across;
I paid ten shillings for a blind white horse;
I up on his back and was off in a crack,
Sally, tell my mother I shall never come back.

There are also references to One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez (Pilar and the fish of gold) and to El Topo, a film by Alejandro Jodorowsky.




My mother told me, “You shouldn’t play
with the Gypsies in the woods.”
My mother told me, “You shouldn’t play
with the Gypsies in the woods.”

But the woods were dark, the grass already green,
there came Sally with a tambourine.
But the woods were dark, the grass already tall,
tell my mother I’m not coming back.

I headed off to the sea without boats for crossing,
I spent a hundred lira for a little golden fish.
I headed off to the sea without boats for crossing,
I spent a hundred lira for a little blind fish.

I climbed on its back and disappeared in a trice,
go tell Sally that I won’t return.
I climbed on its back and disappeared in an instant,
go tell my mother that I won’t return.

Near the city I found Pilar of the sea,
with two drops of heroin she put her heart to sleep.
Near the caravans I visited Pilar of the apple trees,
mouth spotted with blueberry, a knife between her breasts.

I woke up in the oak tree, the assassin had fled,
tell the little fish that I won’t return.
I looked at myself in the pond,
the assassin had already washed,
tell my mother that I won’t return.

Seated under a bridge the king of mice sniffed himself,
on the road his young dolls burned tires.
Stretched out under a bridge the king of mice adored himself,
on the road his young dolls solicited gentlemen.

He spoke to me on the mouth, he gave me a bracelet,
tell the oak tree that I won’t return.
He kissed me on the mouth, he offered his bed,
tell my mother that I won’t return.

My mother told me, “You shouldn’t play
with the Gypsies in the woods.”
But the woods were dark, the grass already green,
there came Sally with a tambourine.

English translation © 2014 Dennis Criteser



Rimini grew out of De André's disappointments with the political events of the previous couple of years. In close collaboration with Massimo Bubola, a young 24-year-old who had just released his first album, De André explored several social and political themes, including abortion, homosexuality, and how the petty bourgeois attempted to move into the ranks of the powerful and rise above the political and social turmoil of the times. The music has more influence from American rock and pop music than previous albums, and includes his first forays into ethnic music, which will eventually come to full fruition in his masterpiece album Crêuza de mä.
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