Learn Italian in Song: Mamma & Papa’

written, recorded and copyrighted by Alex Britti

Again, it could only happen in Italy: a pop/blues singer pens a love song to his parents.
Hey, papà, stammi a sentire, Hey, Dad, listen to me
ti ricordi quella volta che siamo andati a pedalare Remember that time we went pedalling
con le biciclette stanche, With our tired bicycles
con le mani sporche e vuote With our hands dirty and empty
eravamo come fratelli, We were like brothers
uguali come due ruote Equal as two wheels
ti ricordi la domenica mi portavi con te allo stadio Remember on Sundays you took me with you to the stadium
quella volta che m’hai preso in braccio That time you took me in your arms
con la curva sotto assedio With the curve* under siege
la gente che scappava, People running away
sembrava una guerriglia It seemed like guerilla warfare
io sembravo un’ostrichetta I was like a little oyster
e tu la mia grande conchiglia And you my big shell
hey,
papà, la sera in televisione
Hey, Dad, the evenings with the TV
si guardava d tutto e niente col tuo zapping da campione We watched everything and nothing with your champion channel-surfing
e mamma che sbuffava, And Mom who snorted
e noi litigavamo, And we argued
eravamo così uguali eppure non ci capivamo We were so much alike and yet we never understood each other .
noi, confusi dalla vita e dal lavoro, We, confused by life and work
da una vita che non si è scelta ma che ci sembrava d’oro By a life we hadn’t chosen but which seemed golden to us
bianco & nero come un film degli anni ’30 Black and white like a 1930s film
anche se me ne hai fatte tante, Even if you did a lot to me
la mia fiamma non si è spenta My flame hasn’t gone out
e sto qui a cantare col tuo sangue nelle vene, And I’m here singing with your blood in my veins
me ne hai fatte tante ma ti voglio bene You’ve done a lot to me, but I love you
hey, mamma, guardami adesso, Hey, Mom, look at me now
sempre lo stesso figlio anche se non parliamo spesso Always the same son even if we don’t talk often
come quando da bambino che sembravi mia sorella Like when I was a child and you seemed like my sister
ti vedevo in mezzo agli altri ed eri sempre la piu’ bella I saw you among the others and you were always the most beautiful
mi ricordo che stavamo praticamente sempre insieme, I remember that we were practically always together
tua unica missione era farmi stare bene Your only mission was to make me happy
anche quando invece non era tutto a posto, Even when, after all, not everything was fine
mi guardavi sorridendo e soffrivi di nascosto You looked at me, smiling, and suffered in hiding
e quando arrivava l’estate andavamo sempre al mare And when summer came we always went to the sea
con la macchina senza radio pensavamo noi a cantare With our car without a radio – we took care of singing
le canzoni d Bennato, Battisti e de Gregori The songs of Bennato, Battisti, and de Gregori*
eravamo sull’asfalto ma sembrava in mezzo ai fiori We were on the asphalt but it seemed we were among flowers
e poi la sera non volevo mai dormire And then at night I never wanted to sleep
e tu anche se eri stanca mi venivi a coccolare And, even if you were tired, you came to cuddle me
e ancora adesso che non stiamo tanto insieme, And even now that we aren’t together much
penso a quei momenti d’oro se ho bisogno di star bene I think of those golden moments if I need to feel happy
passa il tempo, Time passes,
siamo grandi in un istante We grow up in an instant
e sei ancora la mia voce piu’ importante And you’re still my most important voice.
quante volte vi ho pensato nei momenti piu’ importanti How many times I’ve thought of [both of] you in my most important moments
quando solo sopra un palco e affrontavo i miei giganti When, alone, I go up on a stage and confront my giants
quando in macchina di notte con l’europa da scoprire, When in a car at night, with all of Europe to discover
fare finta di star bene per non farvi preoccupare I pretend to be happy so as not to worry you
quante volte ho detto basta ma chi me lo fa fare? How many times I’ve said “Enough, who’s forcing me to do this?”
però poi pensando a voi non riuscivo mai a mollare Then thinking of you I could never manage to give up
questa vita d speranze ma piena di emozioni This life [built on] hopes but full of emotions
questa vita che racconto spesso nelle mie canzoni This life that I often recount in my songs
qualcosa che va oltre la realtà e che non finirà mai Something that goes beyond reality and that will never end.
Curva: The rabid and dangerous fans (called tifosi– literally “infected with typhoid”) of football/soccer teams tend to gather in the curves of their home team’s stadium. Sometimes minor wars break out between the fans of opposing team, or they throw fireworks, bottles, and whatever else they can lay hands on (a motor scooter, once). Innocent people get hurt, and even die. One of many reasons I don’t go to live games.Giants: Britti is a fantastic blues guitarist and has played with Ray Charles. We saw Alex Britti in concert years ago.

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