Tag Archives: Elio e le Storie Tese

Learn Italian in Song: La Terra dei Cachi

  The Land of Persimmons By Elio e le Storie Tese, who also did Fossi Figo. This song was a huge hit when it first came out in 1996, with its punning, ironic references to topics such as Mani Pulite and various hospital scandals. (Pity not much has changed since… ) I don’t know if Read More…

 

The Land of Persimmons

By
Elio e le Storie Tese, who also did Fossi Figo. This song was a huge hit when it first came out in 1996, with its punning, ironic references to topics such as Mani Pulite and various hospital scandals. (Pity not much has changed since… )

I don’t know if cachi (persimmons) has any special significance, unless it’s a pun on caca (poop).

 

Parcheggi abusivi, applausi abusivi, Illicit parking, illicit applause,
villette abusive, abusi sessuali abusivi; Illicit houses, illicit sexual abuse;
tanta voglia di ricominciare abusiva. So much illicit desire to start over
Appalti truccati, trapianti truccati, Rigged bids, rigged transplants,
motorini truccati Tricked-out scooters
che scippano donne truccate; that purse-snatch made-up women;
il visagista delle dive e’ truccatissimo. The divas’ make-up artist is extremely made up.
Papaveri e papi, la donna cannolo, Poppies and popes, the cannolo woman
una lacrima sul visto: a tear on the face:
Italia si’ Italia no Italy yes, Italy no
Italia bum, la strage impunita. Italy bang, the unpunished massacre
Puoi dir di si’ puoi dir di no, You can say yes, you can say no,
ma questa e’ la vita. but this is life.
Prepariamoci un caffe’, Let’s make ourselves a coffee
non rechiamoci al caffe’ : Let’s not go to the cafe’
c’e’ un commando che ci aspetta There’s a command awaiting us
per assassinarci un po’. to kill us a bit.
Commando si’ commando no, Command yes, command no
commando omicida. homicidal command
Commando pam commando papapapapam, Command bang, command bang bang bang [machine gun sound]
ma se c’e’ la partita but if there’s a game
il commando non ci sta e allo stadio se ne va, The command won’t tolerate it/won’t be there, and it goes to the stadium
sventolando il bandierone non piu’ sangue scorrera’ waving the big flag, no more blood will flow
infetto si’ ? Infetto no? Quintali di plasma. Infected, yes? Infected, no? Tons of plasma
Primario si’ primario dai, primario fantasma, [hospital] head of department yes, head of department ghost
io fantasma non saro’ e al tuo plasma dico no. I won’t be a ghost and I say no to your plasma
Se dimentichi le pinze fischiettando ti diro’ If you forget the forceps, whistling i will say to you:
“fi fi fi fi fi fi fi fi ti devo una pinza, [whistling] I owe you a forceps
fi fi fi fi fi fi fi fi, ce l ‘ ho nella panza”. [whistling] I have it in my tummy
Viva il crogiuolo di pinze. Hooray for the crucible of forceps
Viva il crogiuolo di panze. Hooray for the crucible of tummies
Quanti problemi irrisolti ma un cuore grande cosi’. So many unresolved problems but a heart as big as this.
Italia si’ Italia no Italy yes, Italy no
Italia gnamme, se famo du spaghi*. Italy yum, if we make some spaghetti

* Roman dialect: “We’ll make two spaghetti”

Italia sob Italia prot, Italy sob, Italy [fart sound]
la terra dei cachi. the land of persimmons
Una pizza in compagnia, una pizza da solo; A pizza in company, a pizza alone
un totale di due pizze e l’Italia e’ questa qua. A total of two pizzas and Italy is this here.
Fufafifi’ fufafifi’ Italia evviva. [whistling] Hooray for Italy
Italia perfetta, perepepe’ nanananai. Perfect Italy [music]
Una pizza in compagnia, una pizza da solo: A pizza in company, a pizza alone
in totale molto pizzo, ma l ‘ Italia non ci sta. In total a lot of bribes, but Italy doesn’t accept that
Italia si’ Italia no, Italia si’ Italy yes, Italy no, Italy yes
Perche’ la terra dei cachi e’ la terra dei cachi. No. Because the land of persimmons is the land of persimmons. No.

Learn Italian in Song: Parco Sempione

Sempione Park Another piece of dark humor from Elio e le Storie Tese, which also follows in the eco-aware tradition of Il Ragazzo della via Gluck – and, like that song, is inspired by Milan, environmentally one of the worst places to live in Italy.   Parco Sempione, verde e marrone dentro la mia città. Read More…

Sempione Park

Another piece of dark humor from Elio e le Storie Tese, which also follows in the eco-aware tradition of Il Ragazzo della via Gluck – and, like that song, is inspired by Milan, environmentally one of the worst places to live in Italy.

 

Parco Sempione, verde e marrone dentro la mia città. Sempione Park, green and brown within my city.
Metto su il vibro, leggo un bel libro, cerco un po’ di relax. I put my cellphone on vibrate, read a good book, try to relax a bit.
All’improvviso, senza preavviso, si sente un pim, pam, pum: Suddenly, without warning, a “pim pam pum” is heard
Un fricchettone forse drogato suona e non smette più. A freak, maybe drugged out, plays and won’t stop.
Bonghi: questo fatto mi turba perché suona di merda, Bongos: this stoner disturbs me because he plays like shit
Non ha il senso del ritmo e non leggo più il libro. He has no sense of rhythm and I can’t read my book any more
Quasi quasi mi alzo, vado a chiedergli perché I’ll almost get up, go and ask him why
Ha deciso che, cazzo, He has decided, that, fuck,
Proprio oggi niente lo fermerà. Today nothing will stop him.
Piantala con ‘sti bonghi, non siamo mica in Africa. Stop it with these bongos, we’re hardly in Africa.
Porti i capelli lunghi ma devi fare pratica. You have long hair, but you need practice
Sei sempre fuori tempo, così mi uccidi l’Africa You’re always off tempo, that way you kill Africa for me
Che avrà pure tanti problemi Which may have lots of problems
Ma di sicuro non quello del ritmo. But certainly not that of rhythm.
Milanese dialect below; thanks to Alice Twain and QT for the translation help.
Dai barbun cerca de sunà mei C’mon, barbone, try to play better
Che sun dree a fa balaa i pee Anca si go vutant’ann Since I am dancing on my feet
Vu gio\’ in balera cun la mia miee Oeh che du bal I’m going down to the dance floor with my wife, Hey, che due balle
Te me scepet l’uregia Ti, i to sciavatt e i bonghi You break my ears

You, your slippers and the bongos

“Caro signore, sa che le dico? Questa è la libertà. “My dear sir, you know what I say to you? This is freedom.
Sono drogato, suono sbagliato anche se a lei non va. I’m drugged, I play wrong, even if you don’t like it
Non vado a tempo, lo so da tempo, non è una novità. I don’t follow the tempo, I’ve known that for a long time, it’s not news
Io me ne fotto; cucco di brutto grazie al mio pim, pum, pam” I don’t give a shit, I get a lot, thanks to my pim, pum, pam”
Bonghi: questa cosa mi turba e mi sento di merda. Bongos: this disturbs me and I feel like shit
Quasi quasi mi siedo ed ascolto un po’ meglio. I will almost sit down and listen a bit better.
Forse forse mi sbaglio, forse ho preso un abbaglio. Maybe I’m wrong, maybe I was blinded.
Forse? Forse un bel cazzo. Maybe? Like hell.
Fai cagare, questa è la verità. You’re disgusting, this is the truth.
Ora ti sfondo i bonghi per vendicare l’Africa, Now I’m going to bust in your bongos to vindicate Africa
Quella che cucinava l’esploratore in pentola The one which cooked explorers in a pot
Ti vesti come un rasta ma questo, no, non basta: You dress like a Rasta but this, no, it’s not enough:
Sarai pure senza problemi, ma di sicuro ci hai quello del ritmo. You may not have problems, but you certainly have a problem with rhythm.
Te tiri ‘na pesciada in del cuu Va a ciapaa i ratt [Milanese again] I’m going to give you a kick in the ass, go catch rats.
Te podet vend domaa el to ciculatt You can only sell your chocolate
”Ecco spiegato cosa succede in tutte le città: “This explains what’s happening in all the cities:
Io suono i bonghi, tu me li sfondi. I play the bongos, you break them,
Di questo passo, dove si finirà?” At this rate, where will it end?”
Ecco perché qualcuno pensa che sia più pratico That’s why some think it’s more practical
Radere al suolo un bosco considerato inutile. To raze to the ground a forest considered useless
Roba di questo tipo non si è mai vista in Africa, Stuff like this has never been seen in Africa
Che avrà pure tanti problemi ma di sicuro non quello dei boschi. Which may have plenty of problems, but certainly no lack of forests.
Vorrei suonare i bonghi come se fossi in Africa, I’d like to play the bongos as if I was in Africa
Sotto la quercia nana in zona Porta Genova. Under the dwarf oak in the area of Porta Genova.
Sedicimila firme, niente cibo per Rocco Tanica 16,000 signatures, no food for Rocco Tanica [a member of the band]
Ma poi il bosco l’hanno rasato mentre la gente era via per il ponte But then they cut the forest down to the ground while people were away on holiday
Se ne sono battuti il cazzo, ora tirano su un palazzo. They didn’t give a shit, now they’re erecting a building
Han distrutto il bosco di Gioia questi grandissimi figli di Troia. They destroyed the forest of Gioia this huge sons of bitches
more by Elio e le Storie Tese: La Terra dei Cachi

Thanks to Nicole and others who explained vibro to me, pointing out that an Italian who sets his cellphone not to ring is truly planning to relax!

 

Learn Italian in Song: First Me, Second Me

This song is an interesting challenge. It was pointed out to me by Rocco Tanica, songwriter and keyboardist with Elio e le Storie Tese, as “a song we wrote to make a joke about Italians pretending to speak English (just like me) with a literal translation of the Italian words (example, quanti anni hai? = Read More…

This song is an interesting challenge. It was pointed out to me by Rocco Tanica, songwriter and keyboardist with Elio e le Storie Tese, as “a song we wrote to make a joke about Italians pretending to speak English (just like me) with a literal translation of the Italian words (example, quanti anni hai? = “how many years you have” instead of “how old are you”).”
FIRST ME.
I would like to writing and singing a song in english,
tongue that I’ve studied at the medium school. In Italian lingua is used for “tongue” both in the sense of the one in your mouth and one that you speak. Which is also true in English, but “tongue” for “language” is somewhat archaic these days. Medium = media, which is also used for middle school (scuola media).
I’d surely find the way to recreate the original sound
of the wonderful Beatles english.
I would pick up a girl and
– thank you to the original sound of the wonderful Beatles english –
I would conquer her, In Italian conquistare is used (also) in the context of a romantic conquest.
I would marry her and together we will farrow so many much childs. They were thinking of the Italian word sgravare (roughly: “de-pregnantize”), which is used for the act of giving birth but (at least in polite company) only when referring to animals. Farrow is the English word used for sows giving birth to piglets. And of course a classic mistake on the irregular plural of “child”.
So we would live until the late age (her), i.e., she will live to a tarda eta’ (“advanced age”), while the speaker, being immortal…
while I would never die just like Highlander;
but not like Sean Connery, better like Christopher Lambert:
young through the centuries but without cut the head.
So every night I dream my unrealizable, unreasonable,
unrecognizable, unjamestaylorable, unstatesmanlike dream come true.
This video only contains the second half of the song – sung by James Taylor! – but it very helpfully includes both the English and Italian lyrics.
SECOND ME (THE PEAK OF THE MOUNTAIN). Secondo me could literally be translated as “second me,” but it actually means “according to me”.
How you call you? How many years you have?
From where come? How stay? Come stai = “How are you?”
Not to be sad:
the life is a thing wonderful and I am here for make it wonderfuler.
Not see the my love for yourself? “The my love” because in Italian all nouns usually take an article (the, a, an). In Milan (at least), names are treated the same way, so you will hear people refer to la Paola or il Daniele.
For force, not is visible. For force = per forza, which would be better translated “perforce”
Not hear the sound of the my guitar?
Is play from me; is play for you, is play for we. A classic abuse of a preposition in suonato da me. Da would often be translated as “from” in English, but in this case it should be “by”. To be fair, prepositions are hard to get right; the usages are so different in every language.
Oui, je t’aime, je t’aime – yes -, must to be the my girl;
come on the my car that I bring you at make one tour. Another preposition confusion in vieni sulla mia macchina. In Italy you don’t ride in a car, you ride on it. Ti porto a fare un giro would be better translated as “I’ll take you for a ride”.
What think of the my car?
Is much beautiful, second me Molto can be translated as very, much, or many.

Learn Italian in Song: Fossi Figo

This piece of rude irony by Elio e le Storie Tese (Elio and the Tense Stories) is a good example of the use of the conditional tense in Italian, as well as covering some common Italian slang, and some use of English words in everyday Italian.The video features Gianni Morandi, for no apparent reason (except Read More…

This piece of rude irony by Elio e le Storie Tese (Elio and the Tense Stories) is a good example of the use of the conditional tense in Italian, as well as covering some common Italian slang, and some use of English words in everyday Italian.The video features Gianni Morandi, for no apparent reason (except friendship with the band, I suppose). The subtitles are slogan-like statements about shampoo, beauty treatments, and the importance of diet and exercise in maintaining one’s looks. The final line is “It’s beautiful to be beautiful.”

The video is filmed, I think, in Milan’s Chinatown, except for the last scenes (jogging) in the Galleria and the Piazza del Duomo.

Fossi Figo

If I Were Hot

Fossi figo frequenterei il locale giusto, If I were hot I’d hang out at the right club
fossi figo conoscerei la gente giusta, If I were hot I’d know the right people
fossi figo indosserei vestiti trendy, If I were hot I’d wear trendy clothes
certe volte son dei capi orrendi Sometimes they’re horrible pieces
che a nessuno li rivendi. That you can’t resell to anyone.
Fossi figo tutti i giorni sarei in palestra. If I were hot every day I’d be in the gym
fossi figo starei ignudo alla finestra. If I were hot I’d stay naked at the window
Fossi figo sarei il principe dell’adduttore, If I were hot I’d be the prince of the adductor [muscle]
sarei il re dell’addominale, I’d be the king of the abdominal
sarei il re della finestra. I’d be the king of the window.
Ammirerebbero i miei capelli, They would admire my hair
si, sono finti ma comunque sono molto belli, Yes, it’s fake, but in any case it’s gorgeous.
quelli veri sono volati via col vento My real hair is gone with the wind
e anche la foto sul documento And even the photo on my ID
non mi rassomiglia piu’. doesn’t look like me anymore.
Capelli, capelli*, Hair, hair,
sono andati via e non torneranno mai, It went away and won’t return again
in piazza* li rimpiazzo in my bald spot I’ll replace it
con un prodigio della tecnica frutto di ricerche With a technical prodigy, the fruit of research
e sperimentazioni che ci aiutano nel look. and experimentation that helps us with our look.
Fossi figo guiderei una grande jeep If I were hot I would drive a big jeep
fino in disco attesissimo in zona V.I.P., to the disco, awaited anxiously in the VIP area
il mio nome sarebbe sempre incluso nella lista, My name would always be on the list
non dico proprio il primo della lista I don’t say right at the top of the list
ma neanche l’ultimo degli stronzi. But neither the last of the bastards.
Cubista, cubista, Go-go dancer,
come balli tu io non ho ballato mai, The way you dance I have never danced
ti guardo, tu mi guardi I look at you, you look at me
e si scatena nel mio corpo And something is unleashed in my body
quella strana sensazione che noi giovani chiamiamo… That strange sensation that we young people call
cincin ueò muiterù [parola in cinese che significa “cazzo duro”] … [word in Chinese meaning “hard dick”]
(coro) (chorus)
Forse non sono figo, forse no, Maybe I’m not hot, maybe not
ma sono bello dentro, dentro, But I’m handsome within, within
fuori stranamente mi vedete come un solitario Outside, strangely, you see me as a loner
ma a me piace stare con la gente. But I like being with people.
Io, per piacervi, I, to please you,
mi epilerei per tutto il santo giorno Would depilate all day long
come le balle di un attore porno Like the balls of a porn actor.
* Capelli is plural, unlike English where we use “hair” as a singular collective noun. Which is why Italians, in English, frequently talk about their “hairs”.* piazza is of course the classic Italian town square, but it’s also used to denote the classic male bald spot