Thursday, December 4, 2014

Anime salve:
    Disamistade - Blood Feud

Che ci fanno queste anime
davanti alla chiesa
questa gente divisa
questa storia sospesa

a misura di braccio
a distanza di offesa
che alla pace si pensa
che la pace si sfiora

due famiglie disarmate di sangue
si schierano a resa
e per tutti il dolore degli altri
è dolore a metà

si accontenta di cause leggere
la guerra del cuore
il lamento di un cane abbattuto
da un'ombra di passo

si soddisfa di brevi agonie
sulla strada di casa
uno scoppio di sangue
un'assenza apparecchiata per cena

e a ogni sparo di caccia all'intorno
si domanda fortuna

che ci fanno queste figlie
a ricamare a cucire
queste macchie di lutto
rinunciate all'amore

fra di loro si nasconde
una speranza smarrita
che il nemico la vuole
che la vuol restituita

e una fretta di mani sorprese
a toccare le mani
che dev'esserci un modo di vivere
senza dolore

una corsa degli occhi negli occhi
a scoprire che invece
è soltanto un riposo del vento
un odiare a metà
e alla parte che manca
si dedica l'autorità

che la disamistade si oppone
alla nostra sventura
questa corsa del tempo a sparigliare
destini e fortuna

che ci fanno queste anime
davanti alla chiesa
questa gente divisa
questa storia sospesa

Disamistade © 1996 Fabrizio De André/Ivano Fossati

"Disamistade" is about blood feuds, which until quite recently were common in Sardinia, and which are probably still bubbling under the surface there according to these articles on a 2007 vendetta killing of a poet and a subsequent possible vindication. In contrast with the other songs on this album, which portray different faces of solitude, this song is about a violence that can happen when people live in close proximity to each other, where envies and slights can fester and erupt into killings that continue in an unending progression as one spilling of blood must be avenged by another. "Disamistade" was translated to English and covered by the American folk/rock band The Walkabouts.

What are they doing, these souls
in front of the church,
this people divided,
this history on hold?

At arm's length away,
at the distance of an offence,
that peace is considered,
a brush with peace,

two blood families, unarmed,
line up to surrender,
and for everyone the pain of the others
is halfway pain.

It contents itself with lightweight causes,
the war of the heart:
the lament of a dog felled
by a passing shadow.

It satisfies itself with quick agonies
on the way home:
a burst of blood,
an absence set at the dinner table.

And at every gunshot of the hunt hereabouts,
one asks for good fortune.

What are these children doing
embroidering, sewing
these patches of mourning,
having given up on love?

Among them is hiding
a misplaced hope
that the enemy wants,
that he wants back.

And a rush of hands, surprised
to touch the hands,
for there must be a way to live
without sorrow.

A race of eyes, in the eyes
to discover that instead
it’s merely a resting of the wind,
a hatred halfway through,
and to the missing part
the authorities are dedicated.

'Cause the blood feud counters
our woe,
this passing of time, by breaking up a pair:
destinies and good fortune.

What are these souls doing
in front of the church,
this people divided,
this history on hold?

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.

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