Saturday, September 6, 2014

Fabrizio De André:
    Hotel Supramonte

E se vai all'Hotel Supramonte e guardi il cielo
tu vedrai una donna in fiamme e un uomo solo
e una lettera vera di notte falsa di giorno
e poi scuse e accuse
e scuse senza ritorno
e ora viaggi ridi vivi o sei perduto
col tuo ordine discreto dentro il cuore.
Ma dove dov'è il tuo amore,
ma dove è finito il tuo amore.

Grazie al cielo ho una bocca per bere
e non è facile
grazie a te ho una barca da scrivere
ho un treno da perdere
e un invito all'Hotel Supramonte
dove ho visto la neve
sul tuo corpo così dolce di fame così dolce di sete.
Passerà anche questa stazione senza far male
passerà questa pioggia sottile come passa il dolore.
Ma dove, dov'è il tuo cuore,
ma dove è finito il tuo cuore.

E ora siedo sul letto del bosco
che ormai ha il tuo nome
ora il tempo è un signore distratto
è un bambino che dorme
ma se ti svegli e hai ancora paura
ridammi la mano
cosa importa se sono caduto se sono lontano
perché domani sarà
un giorno lungo e senza parole
perché domani sarà
un giorno incerto di nuvole e sole
Ma dove, dov'è il tuo amore,
ma dove è finito il tuo amore.

Hotel Supramonte © 1981 Fabrizio De André/Massimo Bubola

"Hotel Supramonte" is a bit like a canvas on which two painters have done their work. The song had its start as a song that Bubola wrote based on some rocky moments while vacationing with his girl friend. In reworking the song, De André brought into the lyrics elements from his experience of being kidnapped and held for four months in the Supramonte of east central Sardinia in 1979. What emerges from the images and musical tone is really a "pure song of love lived," as Bubola once stated.

If you go to Hotel Supramonte and look at the sky,
you will see a woman in flames and a man alone
and a letter, true by night and false by day,
and then excuses and accusations
and excuses with no end.
And now you travel, you laugh, you live, or you’re lost
with the subtle order inside your heart.
But where, where is your sweetheart?
But where did your sweetheart end up?

Thank heavens I have a mouth for drinking,
and it’s not easy.
Thanks to you I have a boatload to write about,
I have a train to miss,
and an invitation to Hotel Supramonte
where I saw the snow
on your body so sweet with hunger, so thirsty sweet.
This station, too, shall pass, doing no harm,
this light rain will pass, as passes the pain.
But where, where is your heart?
But where did your heart end up?

And now I sit on the bed of the forest
that now has your name.
Now time is a gentleman distracted,
it’s a child that sleeps,
but if you wake up and you’re still afraid,
give me your hand again.
What's it matter if I’ve fallen, if I’m far away,
because tomorrow will be
a long day without words,
because tomorrow will be
a day of uncertainty, of clouds and sun.
But where, where is your sweetheart?
But where did your sweetheart end up?

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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