Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Fabrizio De André:
    Canto del servo pastore
    I Sing of the Shepherd Servant

Dove fiorisce il rosmarino
c'è una fontana scura
dove cammina il mio destino
c'è un filo di paura
qual'è la direzione
nessuno me lo imparò
qual'è il mio vero nome
ancora non lo so

Quando la luna perde la lana
e il passero la strada
quando ogni angelo è alla catena
ed ogni cane abbaia
prendi la tua tristezza in mano
e soffiala nel fiume
vesti di foglie il tuo dolore
e coprilo di piume

Sopra ogni cisto da qui al mare
c'è un pò dei miei capelli
sopra ogni sughera
il disegno di tutti i miei coltelli
l'amore delle case
l'amore bianco vestito
io non l'ho mai saputo
e non l'ho mai tradito

Mio padre un falco
mia madre un pagliaio
stanno sulla collina
i loro occhi senza fondo
seguono la mia luna
notte notte notte sola
sola come il mio fuoco
piega la testa sul mio cuore
e spegnilo poco a poco

Canto del servo pastore © 1981 Fabrizio De André/Massimo Bubola

"Canto del servo pastore" sings about the life of a Sardinian shepherd, who is deeply aware of both nature and solitude.

Where the rosemary blooms
there’s a dark fountain
where my destiny walks.
There’s a thread of fear.
What is the way?
No one taught it to me.
What is my true name?
I still don’t know.

When the moon loses the wool
and the sparrow the road,
when every angel is chained up
and every dog is barking,
take your sadness in hand
and blow it into the river,
dress your pain with leaves
and cover it with feathers.

Upon every rockrose shrub from here to the sea
there's a bit of my hair,
upon every cork tree
the pattern of all my knives.
The love of houses,
a love dressed in white -
I never did know it
and never did betray it.

My father a hawk,
my mother a haystack,
they stand on the hill.
Their eyes, bottomless,
follow my moon,
night after night after night alone,
alone like my fire.
Tuck your head on my heart
and turn it off little by little.

English translation © 2014 Dennis Criteser



The album Fabrizio De André is better known as L'indiano based on the cover (a Frederic Remington painting "The Outlier") as well as on the contents of the album. Released in 1981, the album grew out of deep reflections on the similarity between Sardinian culture and 19th century Native American culture. De André and his partner Dori Ghezzi had been kidnapped and held for almost four months in 1979 on the island of Sardinia, where De André lived much of the year. In his words, "an experience of this kind helps one rediscover fundamental values of life. You realize what it means to have warm feet, and what a great conquest it is to not have water dripping on your head while you sleep." De André and co-writer Massimo Bubola were familiar with the Native American story through books like Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee and movies like Little Big Man. De André's reflections on Sardinian and Cheyenne ways began as he sensed a similarity between the values of his captors (whom he refused to denounce at trial, stating they were the prisoners, not he) and those of Cheyenne warriors who risked death to steal horses from enemy tribes. He cited other similarities between the two peoples: economies based on subsistence not productivity, love and respect for nature, lack of interest in money beyond bare necessity, a great love for children, and both cultures being menaced by external forces invading traditional ways of life.
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1 comment:

  1. Ho appena finito di dare un'occhiata al tuo lavoro.
    Come sempre straordinario! ;)
    Non avevo mai ascoltato questa canzone e, grazie a te, ho potuto "incontrarla".
    Grazie davvero!

    ReplyDelete