Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Essential De André

Search by album or by song title.

This site will help English speakers understand the work of a great singer/songwriter, Fabrizio De André. Much of the supplementary information about songs and albums comes from an Italian book by Walter Pistarini - The Book of the World: Fabrizio De André, the Stories Behind the Songs, which helped me greatly to understand many of the lyrics.

For starters, here are two clips from a fantastic concert in Rome at Teatro Brancaccio in 1998, near the end of De André's career.

The songs you can listen to on this playlist come from De André's final three albums.

Here are some of De André's most popular songs, a short list of "essential Fabrizio De André" as a starting point for exploring his work.

From the early years (1964-1967)

La canzone di Marinella
Amore che vieni, amore che vai
La canzone dell'amore perduto
Via del Campo
Bocca di rosa

From the middle years (1970-1978)

Il pescatore
Il testamento di Tito
La cattiva strada
Amico fragile
Andrea
Volta la carta

From the later years (1981-1996)

Fiume Sand Creek
Creuza de mä
Don Raffaè
La domenica delle salme
Dolcenera


These songs (starting at 2:55) come from the album La Buona Novella (The Good Book), released in 1970.


Fabrizio De André wrote songs about love, war, social affairs, politics, current and historical events, Jesus, people who lived on the margins of society, rebels, and death. He had strong connections to the earth and nature, to common people, and to philosophical ideas ranging from pacifism to anarchism to the power of love. He took inspiration from literature (medieval to contemporary), from news clippings, and from the struggles in his own life. His strongest early influence was French songwriter Georges Brassens, and he collaborated with many Italian songwriter/composers throughout his career. De André's lyrics consistently attain the stature of poetry with the unique stamp of his own inner voice, his vision so attuned to the fleeting beauties and the horrors of the human condition and to the feelings and failings of the people he portrays, himself included.

Fabrizio De André - 1940-1999
There are still parts of various translations that need improvement. I welcome comment from anyone who has insight into Italian meanings not rendered well.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Search by album

Tutto Fabrizio De André

La ballata dell'amore cieco (o della vanità) (1966) · Amore che vieni, amore che vai (1966) · La ballata dell'eroe (1961) · La canzone di Marinella (1964) · Fila la lana (1965) · La città vecchia (1965) · La ballata del Miché (1961) · La canzone dell'amore perduto (1966) · La guerra di Piero (1964) · Il testamento (1963)



Nuvole Barroche

Nuvole barocche (1961) · E fu la notte (1961) · Delitto di paese (1965) · Valzer per un amore (1964) · Per i tuoi larghi occhi (1965) · Carlo Martello ritorna dalla battaglia di Poitiers (1963) · Il fannullone (1963) · Geordie (1966) · Amore che vieni, amore che vai (1966) · La canzone dell'amore perduto (1966)




Volume I - 1967

Preghiera in gennaio · Marcia nuziale · Spiritual ·
Si chiamava Gesù · La canzone di Barbara ·
Via del Campo · Caro amore ·
La stagione del tuo amore · Bocca di Rosa ·
La morte · Carlo Martello ritorna dalla battaglia di Poitiers






Tutti morimmo a stento - 1968

Cantico dei drogati · Primo intermezzo ·
Leggenda di Natale · Secondo intermezzo ·
Ballata degli impiccati · Inverno ·
Girotondo · Terzo intermezzo ·
Recitativo · Corale






Volume III - 1968

La canzone di Marinella · Il gorilla ·
La ballata dell'eroe · S'i' fosse foco ·
Amore che vieni amore che vai · La guerra di Piero ·
Il testamento · Nell'acqua della chiara fontana ·
La ballata del Miché · Il re fa rullare i tamburi






Single released in 1970
Il pescatore














La Buona Novella - 1970

Laudate Dominum · L'infanzia di Maria ·
Il ritorno di Giuseppe · Il sogno di Maria ·
Ave Maria · Maria nella bottega d'un falegname ·
Via della Croce · Tre madri ·
Il testamento di Tito · Laudate hominem






Non al denaro, non all'amore né al cielo - 1971

La collina · Un matto (dietro ogni scemo c'è un villaggio) ·
Un giudice · Un blasfemo (dietro ogni blasfemo c'è un giardino incantato) · Un malato di cuore · Un medico ·
Un chimico · Un ottico ·
Il suonatore Jones






Storia di un impiegato - 1973

Introduzione · Canzone del maggio ·
La bomba in testa · Al ballo mascherato ·
Sogno numero due · Canzone del padre ·
Il bombarolo · Verranno a chiederti del nostro amore ·
Nella mia ora di libertà






Canzoni - 1974

Via della Povertà · Le passanti ·
Fila la lana · La ballata dell'amore cieco (o della vanità) · Suzanne · Morire per delle idee ·
La canzone dell'amore perduto · La città vecchia ·
Giovanna d'Arco · Delitto di paese ·
Valzer per un amore (o campestre)





Volume 8 - 1975

La cattiva strada · Oceano ·
Nancy · Le storie di ieri ·
Giugno '73 · Dolce Luna ·
Canzone per l'estate · Amico fragile







Rimini - 1978

Rimini · Volta la carta ·
Coda di lupo · Andrea ·
Avventura a Durango · Sally ·
Zirichiltaggia (Baddu tundu) ·
Parlando del naufragio della London Valour






Singles released in 1980

Una storia sbagliata
b/w
Titti







Fabrizio De André - 1981

Quello che non ho · Il canto del servo pastore ·
Fiume Sand Creek · Ave Maria ·
Hotel Supramonte · Franziska ·
Se ti tagliassero a pezzetti · Verdi pascoli







Creuza de mä - 1984

Crêuza de mä · Jamín-a ·
Sidún · Sinàn Capudàn Pascià ·
'Â pittima · Â duménega ·
D'ä mê riva






Le nuvole - 1990

Le nuvole · Ottocento ·
Don Raffaè · La domenica delle salme ·
Mégu megún · La nova gelosia ·
A çimma · Monti di Mola







Anime salve - 1996

Princesa · Khorakhané "A forza di essere vento" ·
Anime salve · Dolcenera ·
Le acciughe fanno il pallone · Disamistade ·
 cúmba · Ho visto Nina volare ·
Smisurata preghiera

Monday, March 2, 2015

Search by song

 çimma - Boiled Stuffed Veal
 cúmba - The Dove
 duménega - Sundays
Al ballo mascherato - At the Masked Ball
Amico fragile - Fragile Friend
Amore che vieni, amore che vai -
   You, Love, Who Comes and Who Goes
Andrea
Anime salve - Saved Souls
'Â pittima - The Debt Collector
Ave Maria (from La buona novella)
Ave Maria (from L'Indiano)
Avventura a Durango - Romance in Durango
Ballata degli impiccati - Ballad of the Hanged Men
Bocca di rosa - Rosemouth
Cantico dei drogati - Canticle of the Junkies
Canto del servo pastore -
   I Sing of the Shepherd Servant
Canzone del Maggio - May Song
Canzone del padre - Father's Song
Canzone per l'estate - Song for Summer
Carlo Martello ritorna dalla battaglia di Poitiers -
   Charles Martel Returns from the Battle of Poitiers
Caro amore - Sweet Love
Coda di lupo - Tail of the Wolf
Corale - Chorale
Creuza de mä - Cobbled Sea Path
D'ä mê riva - From My Shore
Delitto di paese - Small Town Crime
Disamistade - Blood Feud
Dolce luna - Sweet Moon
Dolcenera
Don Raffaè
E fu la notte - And It Was the Nighttime
Fila la lana - Spin the Wool
Fiume Sand Creek - Sand Creek
Franziska
Geordie
Giovanna d’Arco - Joan of Arc
Girotondo - Ring-Around-the-Rosie
Giugno '73 - June of '73
Ho visto Nina volare - I Saw Nina Flying
Hotel Supramonte
Il bombarolo - The Bomber
Il fanullone - The Slouch
Il gorilla - The Gorilla
Il pescatore - The Fisherman
Il re fa rullare i tamburi -
   The King Makes the Drums Roll
Il ritorno di Giuseppe - The Return of Joseph
Il sogno di Maria - Maria's Dream
Il suonatore Jones - Jones the Player
Il testamento - The Will
Il testamento di Tito - Tito's Will
Introduzione - Introduction
Inverno - Winter
Jamin-a
Khorakhanè
La ballata del Michè - The Ballad of Mike
La ballata dell’amore cieco - The Ballad of Blind Love
La ballata dell’eroe - The Ballad of the Hero
La bomba in testa - The Bomb in the Head
La canzone dell'amore perduto - The Song of Love Lost
La canzone di Barbara - Barbara's Song
La canzone di Marinella - Marinella's Song
La cattiva strada - The Errant Way
La città vecchia - The Old City
La collina - The Hill
La domenica delle salme - Corpse Sunday
La guerra di Piero - Piero's War
La morte - Death
La nova gelosia - The New Blinds
La stagione del tuo amore - The Season of Your Love
Laudate Dominum
Laudate hominem - Praise the Man
Le acciughe fanno il pallone - The Anchovies Make a Ball
Le nuvole - Clouds
Le passanti - The Passersby
Le storie di ieri - The Stories of Yesterday
Leggenda di Natale - Christmas Tale
L’infanzia di Maria - The Childhood of Maria
Marcia nuziale - Wedding March
Maria nella bottega del falegname -
   Maria in the Carpenter's Workshop
Mègu megùn - Doctor Doctor
Monti di Mola - Mountains of Mola
Morire per delle idee - Dying for Some Ideas
Nancy
Nell’acqua della chiara fontana -
   In the Water of a Clear Spring
Nella mia ora di libertà - In My Hour of Freedom
Nuvole barocche - Baroque Clouds
Oceano - Ocean
Ottocento - The Eighteen Hundreds
Parlando del naufragio della London Valour -
   Speaking of the Shipwreck of the London Valour
Per i tuoi larghi occhi - For Your Big Eyes
Preghiera in gennaio - January Prayer
Primo intermezzo - First Interlude
Princesa
Quello che non ho - What I Don't Have
Recitative
Rimini
Sally
Se ti tagliassero a pezzetti - If They Cut You Into Pieces
Secondo intermezzo - Second Interlude
Si chiamava Gesù - His Name Was Jesus
Sidún - Sidone
S'i' fosse foco - If I Were Fire
Sinàn Capudàn Pasciá - Sinan Kapudan Pascha
Smisurata preghiera - Boundless Prayer
Sogno numero due - Dream #2
Spiritual
Suzanne
Terzo intermezzo - Third Interlude
Titti
Tre madri - Three Mothers
Un blasfemo - A Blasphemer
Un chimico - A Chemist
Un giudice - A Judge
Un malato di cuore - A Heart Patient
Un matto (dietro ogni scemo c'è un villaggio) -
   A Madman (behind every fool there’s a village)
Un medico - A Doctor
Un ottico - An Optician
Una storia sbagliata - A Story in Error
Valzer per un amore (o campestre) -
   Waltz for a Lover (or Country Waltz)
Verdi Pascoli - Green Pastures
Verranno a chiederti del nostro amore -
   They'll Come to Ask You about Our Love
Via del Campo
Via della Croce - Way of the Cross
Via della povertà - Desolation Row
Volta la carta - Turn the Card Over
Zirichiltaggia

Sunday, March 1, 2015

How a great band unknown outside of Italy led me to Fabrizio De André and to making this website

I've been the Program Director of Blue Bear School of Music in San Francisco since 1982. I made eight albums between 1975 and 1993 as Diesel Cats. Some can be heard online:

Love, War, Crime and Commerce (1986)
History Club Minutes (1989)
In Search of Blue Treasure (1991)
The Meaning o' Life (1993, with Jim Peterson)

With fatherhood in 1993, my musical activities were put on hold. I began learning Italian in 2008 with my daughter, who chose Italian to learn because it was the language of Romeo and Juliet. In Skype lessons with Mirella Colalillo, Mirella sent some links to Italian musicians. I discovered a group that made me feel like I was in high school again and had just stumbled upon the greatest new band in the world!! Marta sui Tubi. Listening to their songs reawakened the musician in me. You should check them out - fantastic songs, even if you don't know Italian, and great videos. Here's a sampling:

L'unica cosa - "because you can become everything you want; the only thing you have to do is kill your fears."
Cinestetica highlights the unusual approach of the guitarist.
Cenere begins to show the broad dynamic range of their material.
Perchè non pesi niente - love the song and the video!
Cristiana - don't worry, nothing bad happens to the fish!
Via Dante - silly and fun.

With the excitement of Marta sui Tubi in me, I started exploring other Italian singer/songwriters. The ones that have most captivated me are Lucio Dalla, Giorgio Gaber and Fabrizio De André.

As a boy, I started off in music learning songs I loved. With my return to music, I began learning some Italian songs that drew me in, and found myself leaning towards De André's songs, to which my guitar skills and vocal approach were better suited. As my connection to his material deepened, I came to feel the incredible power of his lyrics and of his unaffected approach to singing and performing.

I now have a trio, Bella Strada, that occasionally performs De André songs at the Museo Italo Americano in San Francisco. For those in San Francisco interested in learning Italian, the Museo offers great classes. They also have regular presentations of Italian art and culture, many of which are free. Kudos to Managing Director Paola Bagnatori for her work there, and for the highly engaging conversation class she hosts every Thursday for Museo Members!

I have had wonderful input on my translations from Bianca Friundi, a teacher at the above Museo, and from Francesca Mazza, with whom I have taken Skype lessons.

I hope you can take some time to explore the music of Fabrizio De André, one of the world's great singer/songwriters.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Su Fabrizio De André, n.1

Perchè ho trascorso l’anno passato nel folto della musica di Fabrizio De André, vorrei presentarvi un tipo di discorso a puntate su quest’uomo. Inizio con un po’ sulle sue origini e poi una sua canzone.

De André è nato 1940 a Genova. Suo padre era proprietario d’un istituto tecnico presso a Genova. Dopo i bombardimenti di 1941 a Genova la famiglia tranne il padre si è trasferita alla campagna al nord di Genova dove il padre
aveva comprato una cascina. Il padre rimaneva a Genova all’istituto fino al 1944 quando ha dovuto scappare perchè i fascisti l’hanno accusato di nascondere, di coprire, i suoi alunni ebrei.

Nella campagna Fabrizio si godeva una vita molto libera, circondato dalla natura e dalla gente contadina. Quando è tornato a Genova nel dopoguerra, non era facile diventare abituato alla città con le sue strette strade e senza gli animali della cascina, senza il verde della natura. Ma poco a poco ha incontrato nuovi amici e ha scoperto con loro un’altro senso di libertà nelle strade di Genova.

Da ragazzo De André non era uno studente bravo come suo fratello maggiore. Era uno scavezzacollo e un mattachione, era un bambino scatenato a volte. Ma allo stesso tempo era gentile e generoso con i suoi amici sebbene fosse qualche volta un po' riservato.

Ha dimostrato un’interesse ed una capacità per la musica, prima sul violino quando aveva 8 anni e poi sulla chitarra quando aveva 14 anni. Studiava la chitarra classica e dopo un anno ha iniziato un gruppo country-western con un nome inglese - The Crazy Cowboys & The Sheriff One - che suonava canzoni come "Oh Susanna", "My Darling Clementine", ecc. Allo stesso tempo, De André e suo fratello cominciarono ad ascoltare molta musica francese e poi American jazz. De André studiava le canzoni di Georges Brassens e lo stile chitarristica di Jim Hall e fra poco De André è entrato un gruppo jazz che si esibiva attraverso Genoa per quasi due anni.

Il suo interesse nella letteratura comminciò quando ha conosciuto un poeta, amico di suo padre. De André e questo poeta sono diventati amici, De André con un fascino per delle poesie e i libri del poeta. Da quel punto De André leggeva molto e sviluppava un grande interesse nella filosofia, la poesia, la letteratura, la storia, in somma nella vita della mente.

Dopo il liceo, quasi finito di un corso di studio della giurisprudenza all’università, De André ha deciso di seguire il percorso della musica. La musica gli offriva la possibilità di non perdere quel senso di libertà che amava tanto da quando era bambino.

Arriviamo all’anno 1961. Vorrei presentarvi due canzoni che sono tipiche della musica di quell’epocha. La prima canzone è “Romantica” da Tony Dallara.



Come molte canzoni di questo tempo, l’approccio dell’arrangiamento è con orchestra, molto romantico, e il canto è pieno d’emozione con grandi gesti vocali e una discreta bravura della voce. Ecco un’altra canzone così, “Al di là”, vincitore del Festival della Canzone Italiana di Sanremo 1961.



Ricordatevi che era nel bel mezzo della guerra fredda ed anche del miracolo economico che portava molti cambiamenti sociali e culturali, alcuni positivi, alcuni negativi. La meta della musica leggera era di far dimenticare i guai del mondo e le difficoltà quotidiane della gente, o di celebrare il boom ignorarando i dislocazioni sociali.

Finalmente, introduco la prima canzone scritta da Fabrizio De André, "La ballata di Michè", uscita 1961. E’ chiaro che De André non voleva diventare un cantautore tradizionale con questa canzone su un suicidio nel prigione e con il suo approccio vocale con la sua componente emotive raffinata e sottile. C’è un contrasto fra il suono allegro della canzone da un lato e il testo dall’altro lato. E la voce di De André non da un inizio del grave argomento della canzone. il testo è la traduzione



E per effetto extra, due esempi della musica che ispirava De André negli anni Cinquanta:


Georges Brassens, cantautore francese


L'album jazz preferito di De André, con Jim Hall sulla chitarra

Friday, February 27, 2015

Su Fabrizio De André, n. 2

Da ragazzo De André partecipava a molte battaglie grandi sulle strade di Genova contro altre bande di ragazzi. Questi ragazzi avevano dodici o tredici anni. C’erano molte marachelle, molte scazzottate, c’erano combattimenti con l’uso di sassi, di fucili ad aria compressa, anche di razzi sparati che hanno rubato agli americani. E qualche volta usavano contenitori ad alluminio pieni di cacche di piccione – il proiettile perfetto per fare un danno disgustoso ai loro nemici. Queste battaglie accadavano quasi ogni giorno.

De André stesso si è definito un ragazzino incazzato che parlava sporco. Prima di questo periodo De André abitava alla campagna durante la guerra. Quando la guerra è finita, De André fu colpito molto dal ritorno del suo zio Francesco che era catturato dai tedeschi in Albania e poi trascorreva due anni al campo di concentramento a Mannheim. Questo zio non parlava molto delle sue esperienze ma il suo spirito è stato rotto e le poche cose che raccontò ai fratelli De André hanno lasciato delle tracce indelebile nella mente di Fabrizio. Nonostante il fatto che De André era davvero “un ragazzino incazzato” con la capacità di essere aggressivo nella battaglia, dall’età di un giovane adulto era un pacifista dichiarato.


Per tutta la sua carriera di cantautore scriveva canzoni sulla guerra, e oggi vi presento la sua prima di questo tipo – La ballata dell’eroe. La puntata scorsa abbiamo ascoltato La ballata del Michè, il lato A del primo singolo uscito da De André. La ballata dell’eroe è il lato B di questo singolo. L’anno è 1961 quando De André aveva 21 anni e la crisì di Berlino si stava svolgendo. Perciò c’era un senso di pericolosità nell’aria.

Questa canzone è quasi come una foto istantanea. C’è poca trama, poco sviluppo della scenografia e della carattere. Invece De André delinea un ritratto concise poi lo dota di una carica semplice emozionale con una tema antica – quella della gloria ufficiale d’un soldato caduto in giustapposizione al dolore privato di una donna lasciata sola a causa della morte del suo amore.

Ecco la canzone . . .

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Getting to know Fabrizio De André, no. 1

De André’s first original song release was a single in November 1961, when Italian pop music was filled with songs not unlike “Volare” – orchestral/big band arrangements, big emotional gestures, and subject matter that was often romantic, silly or both. Check out the winner of the 1960 San Remo Festival, “Romantica” by Tony Dallara for a taste:



Or look how American 1950s rock and roll was translated into Italian on this must see video of “24,000 Kisses,” released in 1961 by Adreano Celentano:



Into this mix of musical frosting, the 21-year-old Fabrizio De André released “The Ballad of Mike” (click to go to translation).



Based on a newspaper article, it tells the story of a man who hanged himself in prison, there for having killed a guy he thought was trying to steal his girlfriend. He doesn't get a proper burial because the Catholic Church at the time believed those who took their own lives were “sinners who cannot be granted ecclesiastical funeral rites without public scandal of the faithful.” The theme of the harshness of Church and State will surface again in De André’s work. (De André wasn't the first to want to make a more real-life music; that trend in Italy probably started in 1958 with a group called Cantacronache, who were influenced by the likes of Georges Brassens, Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill.)

The pairing of the lyrics and the music is noteworthy. If you didn't know what the song was about, I don’t think you could guess it from the sound of the music and the voice alone. The minor key verses transition to major key choruses that have a lightness at odds with the lyric content, and with no hint of darkness or anguish in De André’s voice.

While this contrast may seem strange, it's perhaps instructive to know that De André's first band, started when he was 16 years old, was a country western band with an English name - The Crazy Cowboys & The Sheriff One - in which he played banjo and sang songs like "Oh Susanna" and "My Darling Clementine." There is a tradition in older American folk, blues and country music of songs about disasters, tragedies and other sad stories of the day, and it was not uncommon for these songs to be set to music that was tuneful or toe-tapping.



I don't know the extent of De André's familiarity with this strain of American music, but it's an intriguing line of possible connection.

It’s interesting to recall what other musical icons-to-be were up to at the time. On the one hand, The Beatles were tearing it up in the Cavern Club in November 1961, inspired by the same 1950s rock and roll that inspired 24,000 Kisses. On the other hand Bob Dylan was making a name for himself at Gerde’s Folk City in Greenwich Village, having been reviewed very positively in the New York Times. The Beatles would soon enough destroy the bubble-gum pop of the 1960s with a music much more vital, real and fresh, while Dylan would create his own brand of anti-pop built on deep rural strains of black and white folk music. And the fall of 1961 saw the first Motown release to reach Number One, "Please Mr. Postman" by the Marvelettes.

And here's what I was up to in 1961 - that's a Hawaiian steel guitar, for the uninitiated, and boy was I square:



Hope you enjoy this first installment of what will be a desultory tour of this blog and the music of Fabrizio De André.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Getting to know Fabrizio De André, no. 2

While growing up, De André participated in many a battle royale on the streets of Genoa against rival gangs, and he was also known as someone who loved to torment and play tricks on his older brother and his brother's friends. Having exercised his warrior impulses as a boy, from a young adult age De André was an avowed pacifist. Throughout his career he wrote songs about war, and today I'll point you to one from the beginning of his career and another from much later on to give a taste of how De André grew as an artist over the years.

The Ballad of the Hero” was the B-side of his first single, “The Ballad of Mike,” released in 1961 when De André was 21 years old, in the thick of the Cold War amid the unfolding Berlin Crisis. With a song about a prison suicide backed with another about war, it’s clear that De André was not setting out to be a moon-in-June type songwriter! “The Ballad of the Hero” is like a snapshot – little in the way of plot, scene or character development. De André sketches a concise image and then endows it with a simple emotional charge with an ancient theme: the public glory of a fallen soldier juxtaposed with the private pain and sorrow of a woman now left behind without her beloved.



It’s interesting to hear a song written by De André 23 years later – “Sidon” from his ground-breaking 1984 album Creuza de mä. Like “The Ballad of the Hero,” it’s a simple snapshot of the profound private pain that is the by-product of war. While the lyrics of “Hero” are more universal and iconic in nature, those of “Sidon” are specific to the invasion of Lebanon by Israel in 1982, and De André said the death the song portrays is a metaphor for the death of a civilization.



For some musical context, The Kingston Trio had a big hit the same year that "Ballad of the Hero" was released with Pete Seeger’s “Where Have All the Flowers Gone.”



And in 1984, the year "Sidon" was released, Culture Club put out “The War Song,” which is a pretty fair example of the musical aesthetic that De André wanted to counter with Creuza de mä.



Another war song from the same year with a radically different aesthetic was “No Fuckin’ War” by The Dicks, then based in San Francisco.



And here's a snapshot of what I was up to in 1984:


Not sure what the musical aesthetic was there, but closer to The Dicks than to Culture Club for sure!

We'll return to the music of De André when the spirit moves me again - hope you find it of interest.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Anime salve:
    Princesa - Princess

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)
viver (vivere)

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.



Fernanda Farias De Albuquerque
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 countryside
the sky
the path
the school
the church
the shame
the skirt
the nail polish
the mirror
the lipstick
the fear
the street
the fashion model
the dizziness
the charm
the magic
the cars
the police
the tiredness
the dignity
the fiancé
the thug
the elder gentleman
the lecher
the misfortune
the bender
the blows
the caresses
the failure
the disgust
the beauty
living

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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Monday, December 8, 2014

Anime salve:
    Khorakhanè (a forza di essere vento)
    Khorakhanè (by dint of being wind)

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.
Back to Album List         Back to Song List

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Anime salve:
    Anime salve - Saved Souls

Mille anni al mondo mille ancora
che bell'inganno sei anima mia
e che bello il mio tempo
che bella compagnia

sono giorni di finestre adornate canti di stagione
anime salve in terra e in mare

sono state giornate furibonde senza atti d'amore
senza calma di vento
solo passaggi e passaggi
passaggi di tempo

ore infinite come costellazioni e onde
spietate come gli occhi della memoria
altra memoria e non basta ancora
cose svanite facce
e poi il futuro

i futuri incontri di belle amanti scellerate
saranno scontri saranno cacce
coi cani e coi cinghiali
saranno rincorse morsi e affanni
per mille anni

mille anni al mondo mille ancora
che bell'inganno sei anima mia
e che grande il mio tempo
che bella compagnia

mi sono spiato illudermi e fallire
abortire i figli come i sogni
mi sono guardato piangere in uno specchio di neve
mi sono visto che ridevo
mi sono visto di spalle che partivo

ti saluto dai paesi di domani
che sono visioni di anime contadine
in volo per il mondo

mille anni al mondo mille ancora
che bell'inganno sei anima mia
e che grande questo tempo che solitudine
che bella compagnia

Anime salve © 1996 Fabrizio De André/Ivano Fossati

"Anime salve" is sung both by De André and Ivano Fossati, who is responsible for most of the music of this song. De André said that he meant for the words "anime" and "salva" to maintain some of their etymological root meanings of "spirit" and "solitary." After two songs about a person and a people who were forced into a kind of marginalized solitude away from the mainstream world, he meant this song to be a hymn to solitude as a choice that can save one's soul from the worst human failings, solitude as a counterbalance to living in the world, a solitude that gives space for better understanding, learning and reflection about the world, a solitude that counters the tendencies towards violence that result from people banding together and identifying as a group, both at the local/social level and at the level of political states.



A thousand years in the world, a thousand still,
what a fine deception you are, my soul,
and how beautiful my time,
what beautiful company.

They are days of adorned windows, carols of the season,
saved souls on land and at sea.

They were furious days without acts of love,
without calmness of wind,
only passages and passages,
passages of time.

Infinite hours like constellations and waves,
merciless like the eyes of memory.
Another memory and it’s still not enough,
vanished things, faces,
and then the future.

Future encounters of beautiful lovers, unholy,
will be conflicts, will be hunts
with the dogs and the boars,
they will be chases, bites and troubles
for a thousand years.

A thousand years in the world, a thousand still,
what a fine deception you are, my soul,
and how boundless my time,
what beautiful company.

I spied myself deceiving myself and failing,
aborting children like dreams.
I watched myself crying in a mirror of snow,
I saw myself that was laughing,
I saw myself from the back as I departed.

I salute you from domains of tomorrow
that are visions of peasant souls
en route to the world.

A thousand years in the world, a thousand still,
what a fine deception you are, my soul,
and how great this time, what solitude,
what beautiful company.

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 Andrè 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.
Back to Album List         Back to Song List