Sono la pecora sono la vacca
che agli animali si vuol giocare
sono la femmina camicia aperta
piccole tette da succhiare
Sotto le ciglia di questi alberi
nel chiaroscuro dove son nato
che l'orizzonte prima del cielo
ero lo sguardo di mia madre
"che Fernandino è come una figlia
mi porta a letto caffè e tapioca
e a ricordargli che è nato maschio
sarà l'istinto sarà la vita"
e io davanti allo specchio grande
mi paro gli occhi con le dita
a immaginarmi tra le gambe
una minuscola fica
nel dormiveglia della corriera
lascio l'infanzia contadina
corro all'incanto dei desideri
vado a correggere la fortuna
nella cucina della pensione
mescolo i sogni con gli ormoni
ad albeggiare sarà magia
saranno seni miracolosi
perché Fernanda è proprio una figlia
come una figlia vuol far l'amore
ma Fernandino resiste e vomita
e si contorce dal dolore
e allora il bisturi per seni e fianchi
in una vertigine di anestesia
finché il mio corpo mi rassomigli
sul lungomare di Bahia
sorriso tenero di verdefoglia
dai suoi capelli sfilo le dita
quando le macchine puntano i fari
sul palcoscenico della mia vita
dove tra ingorghi di desideri
alle mie natiche un maschio s'appende
nella mia carne tra le mie labbra
un uomo scivola l'altro si arrende
che Fernandino mi è morto in grembo
Fernanda è una bambola di seta
sono le braci di un'unica stella
che squilla di luce di nome Princesa
a un avvocato di Milano
ora Princesa regala il cuore
e un passeggiare recidivo
nella penombra di un balcone
o matu (la campagna)
o cèu (il cielo)
a senda (il sentiero)
a escola (la scuola)
a igreja (la chiesa)
a desonra (la vergogna)
a saia (la gonna)
o esmalte (lo smalto)
o espelho (lo specchio)
o baton (il rossetto)
o medo (la paura)
a rua (la strada)
a bombadeira (la modellatrice)
a vertigem (la vertigine)
o encanto (l'incantesimo)
a magia (la magia)
os carros (le macchine)
a policia (la polizia)
a canseira (la stanchezza)
o brio (la dignità)
o noivo (il fidanzato)
o capanga (lo sgherro)
o fidalgo (il gransignore)
o porcalhao (lo sporcaccione)
o azar (la sfortuna)
a bebedeira (la sbronza)
as pancadas (le botte)
os carinhos (le carezze)
a falta (il fallimento)
o nojo (lo schifo)
a formusura (la bellezza)
Princesa © 1996 Fabrizio De André/Ivano Fossati
"Princesa" is about Fernanda Farias de Albuquerque, who was born in Brazil in 1963 as a male but from the age of six years identified as female. She emigrated to Spain at the age of 25 and then to Italy, where she was a sex worker in order to pay for a sex change operation. She was incarcerated for the attempted murder of the madam of the brothel where she worked after the madam had stolen money from her. In jail, she met a Sardinian shepherd who had attempted a bank robbery. The two spoke about Brazil and Sardinia in a mix of languages. Another inmate, sentenced to two life sentences, undertook to write the story of Fernanda/Princesa, and after a year of collaboration the book was published in 1994, on which De André based this song. The happy ending of the song did not mirror what happened in real life - Fernanda/Princesa ended her life in 1999 without having completed the transition to being female.
I am the ewe, I am the cow,
because one wants to play at being animals.
I am the female, open shirt,
small tits to suck.
Under the eyelashes of these trees
in the light and shade where I was born,
because the horizon before the sky,
I was the look in my mother’s eyes.
“Why is little Fernando like a daughter?
He brings me coffee and tapioca in bed,
and to remind him that he was born male
will be instinct, will be life.”
And me, in front of the big mirror -
I screen my eyes with my fingers
to imagine for myself, between my legs,
a little twat.
In the half slumber of a bus
I leave my peasant infancy,
I run to the spell of desires,
I go to adjust my fortune.
In the kitchen of the boarding house
I mix dreams with hormones.
When dawn comes there will be magic,
there will be miraculous breasts.
Because Fernanda is really a daughter,
like a girl she wants to make love.
But little Fernando resists and vomits
and writhes in agony.
And then the scalpel for breasts and hips,
in a whirl of anesthesia,
until my body looks like me
along the seafront of Bahia.
Tender smile of greenleaf,
from her hair I withdraw my fingers
when the cars point their headlights
on the stage of my life
where, amidst traffic jams of desires,
at my buttocks a cock is hanging.
Into my meat, between my lips,
one man slides, the other surrenders.
Because little Fernando died in my bosom,
Fernanda is a silk doll.
They are branches of a single star
that blasts out light, Princess by name.
To a lawyer in Milan
Princess now gives her heart,
and a customary stroll
in the shadow of a balcony.
the nail polish
the fashion model
the elder gentleman
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.
Fabrizio De André, the revered Italian singer/songwriter, created a deep and enduring body of work over the course of his career from the 1960s through the 1990s. With these translations I have tried to render his words into an English that reads naturally without straying too far from the Italian. The translations decipher De André's lyrics without trying to preserve rhyme schemes or to make the resulting English lyric work with the melody of the song.
Tuesday, December 9, 2014
Princesa - Princess
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