SIMON J. EVNINE

Fabrizio de Andrè

Monti di Mola

Fabrizio de Andrè (1940-99) is often described as an Italian Bob Dylan or Leonard Cohen. I have tried here to produce translations of a few of his songs that are both fairly literal and at the same time singable. If anyone is inclined actually to use them in performance, that would be fine. I would, however, greatly appreciate learning about it.

Index of Songs

 

  Photo of Fabrizio de Andre

The Mountains of Mola

In the mountains of Mola
in the morning
a white-coated donkey was grazing,
in the meadow

In the mountains of Mola
in the morning
cutting branches there was a dark-haired
handsome fellow

As they drank they looked into
each other's eye ea ea eae
the water dribbled down their chins
as they let out a sigh ea eae

The donkey's eyes were of the same color
as the sea;
and the youth was swept by the Mistral
when she breathed.

And enchanted she began to
bray ae ae ae aea
and haltingly he answered though he
found it hard to say ea eae

- Oh lovely girl
moon of a donkey
Oh lovely girl
wool-covered cushion
Oh lovely girl
milk-white good fortune -

- Oh lovely boy
you make my eyes sting
Oh lovely boy
orgy of kisses
Oh lovely boy
you sew up my heart strings -

The greatest love
the very first
the bee sucks honey,
from this flower
to slake its thirst

Puppy love
eternal Spring
the velvet moss,
the clapper that
makes this heart ring

But nothing can be kept a secret
in Gallura
Everything becomes common knowledge
in an hour

And hidden lurked
an ugly crone who
liked to spy ea ea eae
who, drooling as she
watched, began to
cry ea ea ea eae

- Oh happy she
Lord he's so handsome
Oh happy she
dark-haired and youthful
Oh happy she
I'll die on my lonesome

Oh happy she
I remember so clearly
Oh happy she
and not one time only
Oh happy she
twisted and lonely -

The greatest love
the very first
the bee sucks honey,
from this flower
to slake its thirst

Puppy love
eternal Spring
the velvet moss,
the clapper that
makes this heart ring

Everyone dressed up in their finest for
the wedding feast.
And in his sacramental vestments,
came the priest.

But the man and donkey's wedding,
it was frustrated
because the parish records revealed that
they were related.

And enchanted she began to
bray ae ae ae aea
and haltingly he answered though he
found it hard to say ea eae

Le Monti di Mola

In li Monti di Mola
la manzana
un'aina musteddina
era pascendi

In li Monti di Mola
la manzana
un cioano vantarricciu e moru
era sfraschendi

e l'occhi s'intuppesini
cilchendi ea ea ea ea
e l'ea sguttesida li
muccichili cù li bae ae ae

e l'occhi la burricca aia
di lu mare
e a iddu da le tive escia
lu Maestrale

e idda si tunchià
abbeddulata ea ea ea ea
iddu le rispundia
linghitontu ae ae ae ae

- Oh bedda mea
l'aina luna
la bedda mea
capitale di lana
oh bedda mea
bianca foltuna –

- Oh beddu meu
l'occhi mi bruxi
lu beddu meu
carrasciale di baxi
lu beddu meu
lu core mi cuxi -

Amori mannu
di prima 'olta
l'aba si suggi
tuttu lu meli
di chista multa

Amori steddu
di tutte l'ore
di petralana
lu battadolu
di chistu core

Ma nudda si po' fa nudda
in Gaddura
che no lu ènini a sapi
int'un'ora

e 'nfattu una 'ecchia
infrasconata
fea ea ea ea
piagnendi e figgiulendi
si dicia cù
li bae ae ae

-Beata idda
uai che bedd'omu
beata idda
cioanu e moru
beata idda
sola mi moru

beata idda
ià ma l'ammentu
beata idda
più d'una 'olta
beata idda
'ezzaia tolta –

Amori mannu
di prima 'olta
l'aba si suggi
tuttu lu meli
di chista multa

Amori steddu
di tutte l'ore
di petralana
lu battadolu
di chistu core

E lu paese intreu s'agghindesi
pa' lu coiu
lu parracu mattessi intresi
in lu soiu

ma a cuiuassi no riscisini
l'aina e l'omu
chè da li documenti escisini
fratili in primu

e idda si tunchià
abbeddulata ea ea ea ea
iddu le rispundia
linghitontu ae ae ae ae

This song, about the love between a  young man and an ass whose attempt to marry one another is frustrated owing to their turning out to be consanguinous, is in a dialect of Sardinia, where de Andrè lived for a number of years. "The Mountains of Mola" is, he notes, the ancient name for the costa smeralda (the Emerald Coast), a region of Sardinia. The translation is made from the Italian version of the text given in the liner notes of Le Nuvole (presumably made by de Andrè himself).