Sunday, September 7, 2014

Fabrizio De André:
    Ave Maria

Deus Deus ti salve Maria
chi chi ses de grazia piena
de grazia ses sa ivena
ei sa currente...

    Dio, Dio ti salvi, Maria
    che, che sei di grazia piena,
    di grazia sei la vena
    e la sorgente.

Pregade pregade lu a fizzu ostru
chi chi tottu sos errores
a nois sos peccadores
a nos perdone

    Pregate pregate a vostro figlio
    che, che tutti i nostri errori
    a noi peccatori
    a noi perdoni.

Meda meda grazia a nos done
in in vida e in sa morte
e in sa diciosa sorte
in paradisu

    Molta, molta grazia ci doni
    in, in vita e nella morte
    e nella felice sorte
    in Paradiso.


Adapted from a traditional Sardinian song

De André's Ave Maria takes three verses from a traditional Sardinian song, "Deus ti salvet Maria," that is itself based on a catechism from a 17th century Jesuit priest. The song is sung by De André's keyboardist Mark Harris, an American who moved to Italy at 12 years of age, and whose wife is Sardinian.










God, God, save yourself Maria
who, who is full of grace.
You are the vein of grace,
and the source.






Pray, pray you all to your son
that, that all of the errors
of ours, the sinners,
of ours, he might pardon.






Much, much grace you give us
in, in life and in death,
and in the blessed fortune,
in Paradise.

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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