Saturday, July 5, 2014

Volume 8:
   Le storie di ieri
   The Stories of Yesterday (Francesco De Gregori)

Mio padre aveva un sogno comune,
condiviso dalla sua generazione,
la mascella al cortile parlava,
troppi morti lo hanno tradito,
tutta gente che aveva capito.

E il bambino nel cortile sta giocando,
tira sassi nel cielo e nel mare,
ogni volta che colpisce una stella
chiude gli occhi e si mette a sognare,
chiude gli occhi e si mette a volare.

E i cavalli a Salò sono morti di noia,
a giocare col nero perdi sempre,
Mussolini ha scritto anche poesie,
i poeti che strane creature,
ogni volta che parlano è una truffa.

Ma mio padre è un ragazzo tranquillo,
la mattina legge molti giornali,
è convinto di avere delle idee.
E suo figlio è una nave pirata,
e suo figlio è una nave pirata.

E anche adesso è rimasta una scritta nera,
sopra il muro davanti a casa mia.
Dice che il movimento vincerà;
il gran capo ha la faccia serena,
la cravatta intonata alla camicia.

Ma il bambino nel cortile si è fermato,
si è stancato di seguire gli aquiloni,
si è seduto tra i ricordi vicini,
i rumori lontani,
guarda il muro e si guarda le mani,
guarda il muro e si guarda le mani,
guarda il muro e si guarda le mani.

Le storie di ieri © 1975 Francesco De Gregori

"Le storie di ieri" is the only song De André ever recorded in studio that he did not have a hand in writing or translating. The images in the song reference both fascism and neo-fascism, the political currents from both the older generation and the younger generation of Italy in the 1970s. Translation notes. 1. Salò was the capital of Mussolini's Italian Social Republic from 1943-1945. 2. The great leader referenced in the 5th verse is Giorgio Almirante, the first leader of the Italian Social Movement, a political party founded in 1946 that absorbed many wartime fascists into its ranks.

The jaw on his balcony . . .
. . . speaking to the courtyard.
My father had a common dream
shared by his generation.
The jaw spoke to the courtyard.
Too many dead ones betrayed it,
all the people who had understood.

And the child in the courtyard is playing,
he throws stones into the sky and into the sea.
Every time he hits a star,
he closes his eyes and starts to dream,
he closes his eyes and starts to fly.

And the horses at Salò are bored to death.
Playing with black you always lose.
Mussolini wrote poems too -
poets, what strange creatures.
Every time they speak it’s a con.

But my father is a calm guy.
Mornings he reads many papers,
he’s persuaded to have some ideas.
And his son is a pirate ship,
and his son is a pirate ship.

And even now there remains some black graffiti
on the wall in front of my house.
It says the movement will win;
the great leader has a serene face,
his tie matching his shirt.

But the boy in the courtyard stopped,
he tired of chasing kites.
He sat down between the close memories,
the distant sounds,
he looks at the wall and looks at his hands,
he looks at the wall and looks at his hands,
he looks at the wall and looks at his hands.

English translation © 2014 Dennis Criteser

Volume 8, released in 1975, was largely the fruit of three months of hanging out and writing with Francesco De Gregori at De André's Sardinia home, after De André had traveled to Rome to hear the young songwriter perform live. De André was inspired by the possibilities and extended an invitation to De Gregori to visit. Five of the songs have De Gregori's mark on them, and there are two new De André songs and another Leonard Cohen cover. Critics weren't too kind to this album, thinking it was too influenced by De Gregori and rather obscure in some of the lyrics. If you like De André, though, you will find plenty to like here, critics be damned!

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