Il cuore rallenta la testa cammina
in quel pozzo di piscio e cemento
a quel campo strappato dal vento
a forza di essere vento
porto il nome di tutti i battesimi
ogni nome il sigillo di un lasciapassare
per un guado una terra una nuvola un canto
un diamante nascosto nel pane
per un solo dolcissimo umore del sangue
per la stessa ragione del viaggio viaggiare
Il cuore rallenta e la testa cammina
in un buio di giostre in disuso
qualche rom si è fermato italiano
come un rame a imbrunire su un muro
saper leggere il libro del mondo
con parole cangianti e nessuna scrittura
nei sentieri costretti in un palmo di mano
i segreti che fanno paura
finchè un uomo ti incontra e non si riconosce
e ogni terra si accende e si arrende la pace
i figli cadevano dal calendario
Yugoslavia Polonia Ungheria
i soldati prendevano tutti
e tutti buttavano via
e poi Mirka a San Giorgio di maggio
tra le fiamme dei fiori a ridere a bere
e un sollievo di lacrime a invadere gli occhi
e dagli occhi cadere
ora alzatevi spose bambine
che è venuto il tempo di andare
con le vene celesti dei polsi
anche oggi si va a caritare
e se questo vuol dire rubare
questo filo di pane tra miseria e fortuna
allo specchio di questa kampina
ai miei occhi limpidi come un addio
lo può dire soltanto
chi sa di raccogliere in bocca
il punto di vista di Dio
Cvava sero po tute
i kerava jek sano ot mori
i taha jek jak kon kasta
vasu ti baro nebo avi ker
Poserò la testa sulla tua spalla
e farò un sogno di mare
e domani un fuoco di legna
perché l'aria azzurra diventi casa
kon ovla so mutavia
kon ovla ovla kon ascovi
me gava palan ladi
me gava palan bura ot croiuti
chi sarà a raccontare
chi sarà sarà chi rimane
io seguirò questo migrare
seguirò questa corrente di ali
Anime salve © 1996 Fabrizio De André/Ivano Fossati
"Khorakhanè" is a song about the Romani people, who originated from India perhaps a thousand years ago. Khorakhanè means reader of the Koran, and in the song are a Serbian/Montenegran group of so-called Turkish Roma. Due to the nomadic ways of Romani tribes, they are sometimes called "people of the wind." The first verse is the image of the conflict that Romanis feel about settling down to a perhaps easier life versus their impulse to keep moving. The second verse refers to several Romani practices: giving their children the names of people currently in power so as to win them over and gain the ability of passage across borders; hiding their jewels in loaves of bread to avoid having them discovered and taken; and marrying within the tribe to maintain social purity. The third verse presents an image of Romanis who have settled down (as is the case for the great majority of them today). The fourth verse references the fact that Romani culture is an oral one, and that fortune telling has been a traditional means for earning a living. The fifth verse refers to the Nazi extermination of Romani tribes in World War II, while the sixth verse refers to the Festival of San Giorgio (Saint George is celebrated by both Christians and Muslims), an important celebration for Romani even in the midst of horror. Following the festival, the next verses are back to the everyday realities of a nomadic tribe, which include asking for handouts, which some might view as a kind of stealing, but which should be judged only from the point of view of God. The final two verses are in the Romani language.
The heart slows, the head walks
into that well of piss and cement,
to that camp torn by the wind,
by dint of being wind.
I carry the name of all the baptisms,
every name the seal of a permit
for a ford, a land, a cloud, a chant,
a diamond hidden in bread,
for a single temper of blood most sweet,
for the same reason of the voyage, voyaging.
The heart slows and the head walks
into a darkness of abandoned merry-go-rounds.
Some Roma settled down Italian
like copper growing dark against a wall.
Knowing how to read the book of the world
with iridescent words and no writing
in the narrow paths in the palm of a hand,
the secrets that strike fear
until a man meets you and doesn’t recognize himself,
and every land catches fire and peace surrenders.
The children were falling from the calendar,
Yugoslavia, Polonia, Hungary,
the soldiers were taking everyone
and they were throwing everyone away.
And then Mirka at San Giorgio in May
amidst the flames of the flowers, to laugh, to drink,
and a relief of tears invading the eyes
and, from the eyes, falling.
Now wake up, child brides,
because the time has come to go.
With the sky blue veins of the wrists
even today one goes to ask for handouts.
And if this means stealing,
this line of bread between misery and fortune,
in the mirror of this encampment,
to my eyes clear like a farewell,
he can call it that
only one who knows about taking into his mouth
the point of view of God.
I’ll lay my head on your shoulder
and I will make a dream out of the sea,
and tomorrow a fire out of wood
so that the blue air becomes home.
Who will be there to tell the story?
Who will be there? There will be whoever remains.
I’ll follow this migrating,
I’ll follow this movement of wings.
English translation © 2014 Dennis Criteser
Anime salve was released in 1996, the last of De André's thirteen studio albums. The songs were co-written by De André and Ivano Fossati, and the studio recording was co-produced by De André and Piero Milesi. De André referred to the album both as "a type of eulogy for solitude" and "a discourse on freedom." Here you will discover an album with De André at his full powers as lyricist and singer with his rich baritone in a musical setting that is striking, musically sophisticated and varied, with musical references to South America, the Balkans and the Mediterranean. The album was voted best Italian album of 1997 by the readers of La Repubblica and critics voted De André as the best Italian artist. The album also received the prestigious Targa Tenco prize for best album of 1997.