Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Fabrizio De André:
    Quello che non ho - What I Don't Have

Quello che non ho è una camicia bianca
quello che non ho è un segreto in banca
quello che non ho sono le tue pistole
per conquistarmi il cielo per guadagnarmi il sole.

Quello che non ho è di farla franca
quello che non ho è quel che non mi manca
quello che non ho sono le tue parole
per guadagnarmi il cielo per conquistarmi il sole.

Quello che non ho è un orologio avanti
per correre più in fretta e avervi più distanti
quello che non ho è un treno arrugginito
che mi riporti indietro da dove sono partito.

Quello che non ho sono i tuoi denti d'oro
quello che non ho è un pranzo di lavoro
quello che non ho è questa prateria
per correre più forte della malinconia.

Quello che non ho sono le mani in pasta
quello che non ho è un indirizzo in tasca
quello che non ho sei tu dalla mia parte
quello che non ho è di fregarti a carte.

Quello che non ho è una camicia bianca
quello che non ho è di farla franca
quello che non ho sono le sue pistole
per conquistarmi il cielo per guadagnarmi il sole.

Quello che no ho © 1981 Fabrizio De André/Massimo Bubola

"Quello che non ho" starts off with the sounds of a wild boar hunt recorded on Sardinia. Then the blues-riffing guitar insinuates itself and the song unfolds as a kind of manifesto against materialism, a listing of the things that Native American cultures and traditional Sardinian cultures wouldn't have but their conquering cultures would. As journalist Elia Perboni wrote in a review, the Indian "explains what separates him from the white man and explains the difference between the one who exterminates his race and the one who never accepts the compromise of forgetting his own culture."



What I don’t have is a white shirt.
What I don’t have is a secret in the bank.
What I don’t have are your pistols
for conquering the sky and earning the sun for myself.

What I don’t have is getting off scot free.
What I don’t have is what I don’t miss.
What I don’t have are your words
for earning the sky and for conquering the sun for myself.

What I don’t have is a watch that’s fast
for running in more of a hurry and having you more distant.
What I don’t have is a rusted train
that takes me backwards from where I departed.

What I don’t have are your gold teeth.
What I don’t have is a meal at work.
What I don’t have is this grassland
for running stronger than the melancholy.

What I don’t have is a finger in every pie.
What I don’t have is the directions in my pocket.
What I don’t have is you on my side.
What I don’t have is to take you at cards.

What I don’t have is a white shirt.
What I don’t have is getting off scot free.
What I don’t have are your pistols
for conquering the sky and earning the sun for myself.

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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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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Monday, September 8, 2014

Fabrizio De André:
    Fiume Sand Creek - Sand Creek

Si son presi il nostro cuore sotto una coperta scura
sotto una luna morta piccola dormivamo senza paura
fu un generale di vent'anni
occhi turchini e giacca uguale
fu un generale di vent'anni
figlio d'un temporale

c'è un dollaro d'argento sul fondo del Sand Creek.

I nostri guerrieri troppo lontani sulla pista del bisonte
e quella musica distante diventò sempre più forte
chiusi gli occhi per tre volte
mi ritrovai ancora lì
chiesi a mio nonno è solo un sogno
mio nonno disse sì

a volte i pesci cantano sul fondo del Sand Creek

Sognai talmente forte che mi uscì il sangue dal naso
il lampo in un orecchio nell'altro il paradiso
le lacrime più piccole
le lacrime più grosse
quando l'albero della neve
fiorì di stelle rosse

ora i bambini dormono nel letto del Sand Creek

Quando il sole alzò la testa tra le spalle della notte
c'erano solo cani e fumo e tende capovolte
tirai una freccia in cielo
per farlo respirare
tirai una freccia al vento
per farlo sanguinare

la terza freccia cercala sul fondo del Sand Creek

Si son presi il nostro cuore sotto una coperta scura
sotto una luna morta piccola dormivamo senza paura
fu un generale di vent'anni
occhi turchini e giacca uguale
fu un generale di vent'anni
figlio d'un temporale

ora i bambini dormono sul fondo del Sand Creek

Fiume Sand Creek © 1981 Fabrizio De André/Massimo Bubola

"Fiume Sand Creek" is based on the Civil War massacre of a peaceful village of Cheyenne and Arapaho native Americans by a bloodthirsty U.S. Army Colonel despite the fact that the assailants raised both the American flag and white flags of truce. Two company commanders refused to participate, one of whom, Capt. Silas Soule, testified to the Army about the carnage. In a letter to his former commanding officer he wrote: "I refused to fire, and swore that none but a coward would, for by this time hundreds of women and children were coming towards us, and getting on their knees for mercy. I tell you Ned it was hard to see little children on their knees have their brains beat out by men professing to be civilized."



Our hearts were taken under cover of darkness,
under a small dead moon we slept without fear.
He was a general of twenty years,
dark eyes, and same for the jacket.
He was a general of twenty years,
son of a thunder storm.

There’s a silver dollar at the bottom of Sand Creek.

Our warriors too far away on the trail of the bison,
and that distant music became louder and louder.
I closed my eyes three times,
I found myself still there.
I asked my grandpa is it only a dream?
My grandpa said yes.

At times the fish sing at the bottom of Sand Creek.

I dreamed so vividly that blood ran out from my nose,
lightning in one ear and heaven in the other,
the smallest tears,
the biggest tears,
when the snowy tree
blossomed with red stars.

Now the little ones sleep in the bed of Sand Creek.

When the sun raised its head between the night's shoulders,
there were only dogs and smoke and overturned tents.
I fired an arrow into the sky
to make it breathe,
I fired an arrow into the wind
to make it bleed.

Search for the third arrow at the bottom of Sand Creek.

Our hearts were taken under cover of darkness,
under a small dead moon we slept without fear.
He was a general of twenty years,
dark eyes, and same for the jacket.
He was a general of twenty years,
son of a thunder storm.

Now the children sleep at the bottom of Sand Creek.

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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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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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 vivi ridi 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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Friday, September 5, 2014

Fabrizio De André:
    Franziska

Hanno detto che Franziska è stanca di pregare
tutta notte alla finestra aspetta il tuo segnale
quanto è piccolo il suo cuore,
è grande la montagna
quanto taglia il suo dolore
più d’un coltello, coltello di Spagna.

Tu bandito senza luna
senza stelle e senza fortuna
questa notte dormirai col suo Rosario
stretto intorno al tuo fucile.

Hanno detto che Franziska è stanca di ballare
con un uomo che non ride e non la può baciare
tutta notte sulla quercia
l'hai seguita in mezzo ai rami
dietro il palco sull'orchestra
i tuoi occhi come due cani.

Marinaio di foresta
senza sonno e senza canzoni
senza una conchiglia da portare
o una rete d'illusioni.

Hanno detto che Franziska è stanca di posare
per un uomo che dipinge e non la può guardare
filo filo del mio cuore
che dagli occhi porti al mare
c'è una lacrima nascosta
che nessuno mi sa disegnare.

Tu bandito senza luna
senza stelle e senza fortuna
questa notte dormirai col suo ritratto
proprio sotto al tuo fucile.

Hanno detto che Franziska non riesce più a cantare
anche l'ultima sorella tra un po' vedrà sposare
l'altro giorno un altro uomo
le ha sorriso per la strada
era certo un forestiero
che non sapeva quel che costava.

Marinaio di foresta
senza sonno e senza canzoni
senza una conchiglia da portare
o una rete d'illusioni.

Franziska © 1981 Fabrizio De André/Massimo Bubola

During the time De André spent in captivity, he learned much about his captors, who spoke about their lives of poverty and what it was like to always be in hiding and on the lam. In "Franziska" we have a portrait of an outlaw and his girl friend, both of whom must live their lives in a straightjacket of caution, secrecy, constraint and isolation.






They said Franziska is tired of praying
all night at the window awaiting your signal.
How small is her heart,
and grand the mountain,
how it cuts, her sorrow,
more than a knife, a Spanish knife.

You, outlaw without moon,
without stars and without luck,
this night you’ll sleep with her rosary
wrapped ‘round your rifle.

They said that Franziska is tired of dancing
with a man who doesn’t smile and can’t kiss her.
All night long in the oak
you followed her, amidst the branches,
behind the stage over the orchestra,
your eyes like two dogs.

Mariner of the forest,
without sleep and without songs,
without a seashell to carry,
or a net of illusions.

They told me Franziska is tired of posing
for a man who paints but can’t look at her.
“Strings of my heart
that you carry from my eyes to the sea,
there’s a hidden tear
that no one knows how to draw for me.”

You, outlaw without moon,
without stars and without luck,
this night you’ll sleep with her picture
tucked under your rifle.

They said that Franziska can sing no more,
and also her youngest sister will soon marry.
The other day another man
smiled at her in the street -
certainly an outsider
who didn’t know what it might cost him.

Mariner of the forest,
without sleep and without songs,
without a seashell to carry,
or a net of illusions.

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.
Back to Album List         Back to Song List

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Fabrizio De André:
    Se ti tagliassero a pezzetti
    If They Cut You into Pieces

Se ti tagliassero a pezzetti
il vento li raccoglierebbe
il regno dei ragni cucirebbe la pelle
e la luna tesserebbe i capelli e il viso
e il polline di Dio
di Dio il sorriso.

Ti ho trovata lungo il fiume
che suonavi una foglia di fiore
che cantavi parole leggere, parole d'amore
ho assaggiato le tue labbra di miele rosso rosso
ti ho detto dammi quello che vuoi, io quel che posso.

Rosa gialla rosa di rame
mai ballato così a lungo
lungo il filo della notte sulle pietre del giorno
io suonatore di chitarra io suonatore di mandolino
alla fine siamo caduti sopra il fieno.

Persa per molto persa per poco
presa sul serio presa per gioco
non c'è stato molto da dire o da pensare
la fortuna sorrideva come uno stagno a primavera
spettinata da tutti i venti della sera.

E adesso aspetterò domani
per avere nostalgia
signora libertà signorina fantasia
così preziosa come il vino così gratis come la tristezza
con la tua nuvola di dubbi e di bellezza.

T'ho incrociata alla stazione
che inseguivi il tuo profumo
presa in trappola da un tailleur grigio fumo
i giornali in una mano e nell'altra il tuo destino
camminavi fianco a fianco al tuo assassino.

Ma se ti tagliassero a pezzetti
il vento li raccoglierebbe
il regno dei ragni cucirebbe la pelle
e la luna la luna tesserebbe
i capelli e il viso
e il polline di Dio
di Dio il sorriso.

Se ti tagliassero a pezzetti © 1981 Fabrizio De André/Massimo Bubola

"Se ti tagliassero a pezzetti" is part love song and part paean to liberty. The song was inspired by a Native American hymn, reworked by De André and Bubola. In the 1990's, De André sometimes introduced the song in concert by saying it was "an attempt, even though allegorical, to kill liberty. But it couldn't be done, not even in allegory. On the other hand, we have seen even in practice that when people get a taste of liberty, it's very difficult to take it away from them, as can be seen with the Soviets."



If they cut you into little pieces,
the wind would gather them up,
the king of the spiders would sew the skin,
and the moon would weave together the hair and the face
and the pollen of God,
the smile of God.

I found you along the river,
you who were playing the leaf of a flower,
you who were singing gentle words, words of love.
I tasted your lips so very honey red,
I told you, “Give me what you want, I’ll what I can.”

Yellow rose, rose of copper,
I never danced so long
along the lines of the night, on the rocks of the day.
I, guitar player, I, mandolin player,
at the end we fell on the hay.

Lost for a long time, lost for a little,
taken seriously, taken lightly,
there wasn’t a lot to say or to think.
Fortune smiled like a pond in springtime,
disheveled by all the evening winds.

And now I'll wait for tomorrow
to feel nostalgic,
Lady Liberty, young Lady Fantasy,
so precious like wine, so free like sadness,
with your cloud of doubts and of beauty.

I encountered you at the station,
you who were chasing after your perfume,
caught in a trap by a smoke-grey two-piece suit,
newspapers in one hand and your destiny in the other -
you walked side by side with your assassin.

But if they cut you into little pieces,
the wind would gather them up,
the king of the spiders would sew the skin,
and the moon, the moon would weave together
the hair and the face
and the pollen of God,
the smile of God.

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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Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Fabrizio De André:
    Verdi pascoli - Green Pastures

Gli aranci sono grossi
i limoni sono rossi
lassù, lassù nei verdi pascoli
ogni angelo è un bambino
sporco e birichino
lassù, lassù nei verdi pascoli.

     E ora non piangere perché
     presto la notte finirà
     con le sue perle stelle e strisce
     in fondo al cielo
     e ora sorridimi perché
     presto la notte se ne andrà
     con le sue stelle arrugginite
     in fondo al mare.

La radio suona sempre canzoni da ballare
lassù, lassù nei verdi pascoli
niente da scommettere
tutto da giocare
lassù, lassù nei verdi pascoli.

     E ora non piangere perché
     presto la notte se ne andrà
     con le sue perle stelle e strisce
     in fondo al cielo
     e ora sorridimi perché
     presto la notte finirà
     con le sue stelle arrugginite
     in fondo al mare.

Non c'è d'andare a scuola
ti basta una parola
lassù, lassù nei verdi pascoli
c'è carne da mangiare
erba da sognare
lassù, lassù nei verdi pascoli.

     E ora non piangere perché
     presto la notte finirà
     con le sue perle stelle e strisce
     in fondo al cielo
     e ora sorridimi perché
     presto la notte finirà
     con le sue stelle arrugginite
     in fondo al mare.

Gli aranci sono grossi
i limoni sono rossi
lassù, lassù nei verdi pascoli
papà non c'ha da fare
papà ti fa giocare
lassù, lassù nei verdi pascoli.

     E ora non piangere perché
     presto il concerto finirà
     con le sue perle stelle e strisce
     in fondo al cielo
     e ora sorridimi perché
     presto il concerto se ne andrà
     con le sue stelle arrugginite
     in fondo al mare.

Verdi pascoli © 1981 Fabrizio De André/Massimo Bubola

"Verdi pascoli" ends the album on a lighter note, although neither De Andrè nor Bubola were entirely pleased with the song. The song was inspired by Native American ritual dances that envisioned a time in the future when they would be liberated from their sequestration on reservations.



The oranges are huge,
the lemons are red
up there, up there in the green pastures.
Every angel is a child,
dirty and mischievous,
up there, up there in the green pastures.

     And now don’t cry, because
     soon the night will end,
     with its pearls, stars and streaks
     at the bottom of the sky.
     And now smile at me, because
     soon the night will go away,
     with its rusted stars
     at the bottom of the sea.

The radio always plays dance songs
up there, up there in the green pastures.
Nothing to gamble,
everything to play
up there, up there in the green pastures.

     And now don’t cry, because
     soon the night will go away,
     with its pearls, stars and streaks
     at the bottom of the sky.
     And now smile at me, because
     soon the night will end,
     with its rusty stars
     at the bottom of the sea.

There's no going to school,
one word is enough for you
up there, up there in the green pastures.
There’s meat to eat,
grass to dream on,
up there, up there in the green pastures.

     And now don’t cry, because
     soon the night will end,
     with its pearls, stars and streaks
     at the bottom of the sky.
     And now smile at me, because
     soon the night will end,
     with its rusty stars
     at the bottom of the sea.

The oranges are huge,
the lemons are red
up there, up there in the green pastures.
Papa has nothing to do,
Papa plays with you
up there, up there in the green pastures.

     And now don’t cry, because
     soon the concert will end,
     with its pearls, stars and streaks
     at the bottom of the sky.
     And now smile at me, because
     soon the concert will go away,
     with its rusty stars
     at the bottom of the sea.

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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Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Una storia sbagliata - A Story in Error

E' una storia da dimenticare
è una storia da non raccontare
è una storia un pò complicata
è una storia sbagliata.

Cominciò con la luna sul posto
e fini' con un fiume d'inchiostro
è una storia un poco scontata
è una storia sbagliata.

Storia diversa per gente normale
storia comune per gente speciale
cos'altro vi serve da queste vite
ora che il cielo al centro le ha colpite
ora che il cielo ai bordi le ha scolpite.

E' una storia di periferia
è una storia da una botta e via
è una storia sconclusionata
una storia sbagliata.

Una spiaggia ai piedi del letto
stazione Termini ai piedi del cuore
una notte un pò concitata
una notte sbagliata.

Notte diversa per gente normale
notte comune per gente speciale
cos'altro ti serve da queste vite
ora che il cielo al centro le ha colpite
ora che il cielo ai bordi le ha scolpite.

E' una storia vestita di nero
è una storia da basso impero
è una storia mica male insabbiata
è una storia sbagliata.

E' una storia da carabinieri
è una storia per parrucchieri
è una storia un pò sputtanata
o è una storia sbagliata.

Storia diversa per gente normale
storia comune per gente speciale
cos'altro vi serve da queste vite
ora che il cielo al centro le ha colpite
ora che il cielo ai bordi le ha scolpite.

Per il segno che c'è rimasto
non ripeterci quanto ti spiace
non ci chiedere più come è andata
tanto lo sai che è una storia sbagliata
tanto lo sai che è una storia sbagliata.

Una storia sbagliata © 1980 Fabrizio De André/Massimo Bubola



It’s a story to be forgotten,
it’s a story to remain untold,
it’s a story somewhat complicated,
it’s a story in error.

I’ll start with the moon in its place
and finish with a river of ink.
It’s a story a bit discounted,
it’s a story in error.

Different story for regular people,
common story for special people.
Of what other use to you all are these lives
now that heaven has struck them at their core,
now that heaven has sculpted their edges?

It’s a story on the periphery,
it’s a hit and run story,
it’s an unfinished story,
it’s a story in error.

A beach at the foot of the bed,
Termini Station at the base of the heart.
A night rather excited,
a night in error.

Different night for regular people,
ordinary night for special people.
Of what other use to you are these lives
now that heaven has struck them at their core,
now that heaven has sculpted their edges?

It’s a story dressed in black,
it’s a story of the decline of the Empire,
it’s a story but poorly shelved,
it’s a story in error.

It’s a story by the carabinieri,
it’s a story for hairdressers,
it’s a story a bit disgraced,
or it’s a story error.

Different story for regular people,
common story for special people.
Of what other use to you all are these lives
now that heaven has struck them at their core,
now that heaven has sculpted their edges?

For the mark that’s still left,
don’t repeat to us how it saddens you,
don’t ask us anymore how it went.
You know so well that it’s a story in error,
you know so well that it’s a story in error.

English translation © 2014 Dennis Criteser


"Una storia sbagliata" was co-written with Massimo Bubola on commission as music for a television broadcast titled "Behind the Trial" ("Dietro il processo"), by journalist Franco Biancacci. The song was released as a 45 in 1980, and included in a 2005 anthology In direzione ostinata e contraria. The song is about the brutal unsolved murder in 1975 of Pier Paolo Pasolini, who was active and influential as a poet, journalist, philosopher, novelist, playwright, filmmaker, actor, painter and political figure. Pasolini was, courageously for the times and culture, openly gay. The court convicted as the murderer a man who said that Pasolini had come on to him, and then they subsequently got into a fight. But it was an unconvincing verdict, and in fact the convicted murderer recanted his testimony years later and said that three men "with southern accents" had been responsible, leaving open the possibility of other more sinister motives based on Pasolini's strong and controversial social and political views - there was a lot to dislike for Italians of disparate views in a communist-turned-Radical Party homosexual who sided with the policemen during the student protests of the 1960's, opposed liberalization of abortion laws, decried consumerism, globalization and the loss of traditional Italian culture, and spoke both intelligently and provocatively through his many writings and films (his last movie, Salò was named "Most Controversial Film" of all time in a 2006 film guide from Time Out magazine).
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Monday, September 1, 2014

Titti

Come due canne sul calcio del fucile
come due promesse nello stesso aprile
come due serenate alla stessa finestra
come due cappelli sulla stessa testa
come due soldini sul palmo della mano
come due usignoli pioggia e piume sullo stesso ramo.

Titti aveva due amori uno di cielo uno di terra
di segno contrario uno in pace uno in guerra
Titti aveva due amori uno in terra uno in cielo
insomma di segno contrario uno buono uno vero.

Come le lancette dello stesso orologio
come due cavalieri dentro il sortilegio
e furono i due legni che fecero la croce
e intorno due banditi con la stessa voce
come due risposte con una parola
come due desideri per una stella sola.

Titti aveva due amori uno di cielo uno di terra
di segno contrario uno in pace uno in guerra
Titti aveva due amori uno in terra uno in cielo
insomma di segno contrario uno buono uno vero.

Una storia sbagliata © 1980 Fabrizio De André/Massimo Bubola



"Titti" was written as the B-side for "Una storia sbagliata." One of the least well-known of De André's songs, it was inspired by the novel Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands by Jorge Amado.
Like two dogs on the butt of a rifle,
like two promises in the same April,
like two serenades at the same window,
like two hats on the same head,
like two soldiers on the palm of one hand,
like two nightingales, rain and feather on the same branch.

Titti had two loves, one of heaven, one of earth,
of opposite signs, one of peace, one of war.
Titti had two loves, one on earth, one in heaven,
in short, of opposite signs - one good, one true.

Like hands of the same clock,
like two horsemen inside the sorcery.
And there were two woods that made the cross,
and ‘round about two thieves with the same voice,
like two answers with one word,
like two desires for one single star.

Titti had two loves, one of heaven, one of earth,
of opposite signs, one of peace, one of war.
Titti had two loves, one on earth, one in heaven,
in short, of opposite signs - one good, one true.

English translation © 2014 Dennis Criteser

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