Fabrizio De Andre'

Singer Songwriter Fabrizio De Andre'
Singer Songwriter Fabrizio De Andre'

Fabrizio De Andre' (Photo from Wikipedia)

The true nature of Fabrizio De André was that of a poet: hewas probably more of a lyricist than a musician or a singer. Let's not be mistaken, he was an excellent performer and a great composer, but the strength and energy that came out of his words are certainly what made him such an important figure in Italian culture. De André created real tales with his songs, just like a medieval minstrel. Like an artist, though, he broke all rules; he had a strong message and didn't hide it in complicated lyric twisting. He laid it out plain and simple, for everyone to understand and hear, touching the hearts and the souls of his listeners.

Unlike most musicians, De André's lyrics always told a story:  it is actually possible to read them as if they are a narrative, not even a poem. This was certainly one of his main qualities, one of his strengths,  what gained him the overall respect and love of the Italian public, without regard for his general or political views.

Fabrizio De Andre Geordie.

Privately,  Fabrizio supported the left, and never made a mystery about it. At times, he received some special "attention" from the government for his affiliations with some extreme leftists, but his actions were always correct, honest, and clear. He was an idealist and the only weapon he ever used was his guitar, an instrument he mastered not as a rock star might, but as a tool to support his songs. His pieces were so visually effective they could almost be turned literally into motion pictures: every scene and every character flickers in front of the eye, even though they are made out of only words and music.

To remember some songs of his repertoire and to offer some perspective on its content, we would like to mention three songs that are probably his best loved, and the ones that best represent his free spirit and inspiration. One is "Bocca di Rosa" (Rose Mouth) that talks about a prostitute moving to a small town to gently please men, until moral issues, local women, and politics forced her to move elsewhere. The song ends with most of the village's men, including the local priest, waving goodbye to her at the train station - not that of their village, but the next one up.Thew gesture embodied  their affection, but also hypocrysy, represented by the fact they refused to be associated with her in their own place. The second is "La canzone di Marinella" (Marinella's song), a true fairy tale about an average girl and a prince on his horse fallingfor her. Marinella dies at the end, leaving the prince in despair: just as it would happen in a Grimm brothers' story. The third, and probably most effective song is "La guerra di Piero" (Piero's war) where a regular private sings while shooting another in an act of war. Very vivid and very dramatic, as De André takes us to the battlefield, not to entertain, but to make us think about the idiocy of war.

De André never really cared to carry commercial allure, he kept faithful to his style, his aesthetic musical vision, throughout the years, until the end: if his voice was not unforgettable, if his style of composing was not truly impeccable, his art was truly, astonishingly beautiful and unique.  Some compare him to Bob Dylan and probably the comparison is not far from accurate. In his private life, De André was married to another singer Dori Ghezzi, whose beauty and candor hit the hearts of many Italians. Relatively wealthy, unfortunately they didn't have always happy moments. De André and Ghezzi were kidnapped in the summer of 1979 in Sardinia, and remained in captivity for over four months; they were only released after a ransom was paid, just a few days before Christmas. Cancer took him away at the age of 58, when he could still deliver so much. It would have been interesting to hear his take and point of view on today's world. It was all probably far from his vision, but it is likely he would connect with the Internet and its people, he would have a blog, and his ideas would have soared.


It is, in fact, possible to follow his music and videos on Youtube and other sites; after all, legends like Fabrizio De Andre' never die. They only get more popular with the passing of time.


La Guerra di Piero, lyrics and song:

The first video, in my (biased) opinion, includes some of the best lyrics ever written.

- La guerra di Piero


Here are the lyrics in Italian - the traslation is on the right


La Guerra di Piero [/B]- By Fabrizio de Andre'*

Dormi sepolto in un campo di grano*
non e' la rosa non e' il tulipano*
che ti fan veglia dall'ombra dei fossi*
ma sono mille papaveri rossi*

lungo le sponde del mio torrente*
voglio che scendano i lucci argentati*
non piu' i cadaveri dei soldati*
portati in braccio dalla corrente*

cosi' dicevi ed era inverno*
e come gli altri verso l'inferno*
te ne vai triste come chi deve*
il vento ti sputa in faccia la neve*

fermati Piero, fermati adesso*
lascia che il vento ti passi un po' addosso*
dei morti in battaglia ti porti la voce*
chi diede la vita ebbe in cambio una croce*

ma tu non lo udisti e il tempo passava*
con le stagioni a passo di giava*
ed arrivasti a varcar la frontiera*
in un bel giorno di primavera*

e mentre marciavi con l'anima in spalle*
vedesti un uomo in fondo alla valle*
che aveva il tuo stesso identico umore*
ma la divisa di un altro colore*

sparagli Piero, sparagli ora*
e dopo un colpo sparagli ancora*
fino a che tu non lo vedrai esangue*
cadere in terra a coprire il suo sangue*

e se gli spari in fronte o nel cuore*
soltanto il tempo avra' per morire*
ma il tempo a me restera' per vedere*
vedere gli occhi di un uomo che muore*

e mentre gli usi questa premura*
quello si volta, ti vede e ha paura*
ed imbracciata l'artiglieria*
non ti ricambia la cortesia*

cadesti in terra senza un lamento*
e ti accorgesti in un solo momento*
che il tempo non ti sarebbe bastato*
a chiedere perdono per ogni peccato*

cadesti in terra senza un lamento*
e ti accorgesti in un solo momento*
che la tua vita finiva quel giorno*
e non ci sarebbe stato ritorno*

Ninetta mia crepare di maggio*
ci vuole tanto troppo coraggio*
Ninetta bella dritto all'inferno*
avrei preferito andarci in inverno*

e mentre il grano ti stava a sentire*
dentro alle mani stringevi un fucile*
dentro alla bocca stringevi parole*
troppo gelate per sciogliersi al sole*

dormi sepolto in un campo di grano*
non e' la rosa non e' il tulipano*
che ti fan veglia dall'ombra dei fossi*
ma sono mille papaveri rossi.

[B]PIERO’S WAR[/B] By Fabrizio De Andre' (English Version)*
You lie slain, in a wheat field sleeping,*
and neither the rose or the lady tulip*
are watching you in the shadow of ditches,*
but thousands of blood-red poppies.*
“Along the banks of this country stream*
I’d like to see the silver pike swimming,*
and no more soldiers’ corpses*
carried by the current.”*
as you were speaking, it was winter,*
and, just like others, you’re bound to hell*
marching sadly to your duty,*
the wind’s spitting snow in your face.*
Stop your steps, Peter, stop now!*
Allow the wind to fondle your body*
Of the fallen in battle you bear the voice*
who gave its life in exchange a cross.*
But you didn’t hear them, and time passed by*
with the seasons at a java step*
and so you were ready to cross the border*
in a warm and bright spring day.*
And walking with your soul on your shoulder
you noticed a man down the valley*
walking in the same identical mood as you were*
but with a uniform of a different color.*
Shoot him, Peter, shoot at him now!*
And after once shoot him again,*
until he falls dead to the ground*
and will cover his blood with his body.*
And if I aim at his head or his heart*
it will leave him only the time to die,*
but you will have enough time*
enough time to see eyes of a dying man.*
And while you give him this kindness,*
he turns around, spots you and gets frightened*
grabs his artillery *
and doesn’t repay you for your kindness.*
You fell to the ground without a cry*
and you noticed in a moment*
that you’d not have enough time*
to beg pardon for all your sins.*
You felt to the ground without a cry*
and you noticed in no less than a moment*
that your life had come to the end,*
and there was no way back.*
“Oh Ninetta darling, to die in May*
one needs much, too much courage.*
Oh Ninetta darling, I’d like best*
to go to hell in a cold winter day.”*
And while the wheat was listening to your words*
you held your rifle clenched in your hands,*
you held your words frozen in your mouth*
that would never have melted in the sun rays.*
You lie slain, in a wheat-field sleeping,*
and neither the rose or the lady tulip*
are watching you in the shadow of ditches,*
but thousands of blood-red poppies.

YouTube - PFM - La Guerra di Piero (completa!) - Catania 30/09/2007
La Guerra di Piero performed by PFM