Tribute to Fabrizio De André


Recital educational Luigi Gaudio

In-depth analysis of Fabrizio De André

Fifteen years after the death of Fabrizio De André , ’11 January 1999, for a tumour that killed him in a few months , we would like to pay tribute to this great singer-songwriters , and we do as we usually do .

I know the rest of the friends that ask me how it is possible that a poet like De Andrè is not studied in school . I could answer that he wrote songs and poems, but who could deny that certain texts , born with the label of ” poetry ” does not really have anything poetic , while Fabrizio ‘s songs are often literally ” poetry in music.”

The city

Genoa “Via del campo” (Way of the field)

The city in which Fabrizio was born in 1940 in Genoa, to be precise, he says the same western Genoa ( Genova Pegli ) . Here he studied at Christopher Columbus High School , though not without shortcomings. Indeed he was studying as little as possible , it was even postpone and then , however, the sticking ever , because it was sympathetic to the teachers .

De André wrote: ” My father , contrary to what has been written for years , was of modest origins : the well-being began to wander into our house after he had passed the age of forty . Perhaps these roots to its ever thanked you enough appeasement to leave me free to live in the street : the street and I’ve learned to live like before me had probably learned it. “

And the streets of Genoa and especially the most infamous lanes , those frequented by prostitutes , often inspired by De André , especially in the song “Way of the field”

Via del Campo ( Volume I – 1967)

Via del Campo is ‘ a way of ‘ blind alley of Genoa , one of those streets a bit ‘ seedy , frequented by prostitutes precisely , or transvestites, at least a few decades ago, now much more limited , as the Pigalle in Paris.

Beautiful metaphors final :

” Diamonds ” that is, by the lords rich and flashy , nothing was born , from manure , that is, prostitutes , considered the dregs , the corruption of society by the self-righteous , the flowers come . “

The music is by Whittaker and Fo, who had used it for other texts to music .

Via del Campo is a charming

big eyes color of the leaf

the whole night stands on the threshold

sells all the same pink .

Via del Campo is a child

with lip colour dew

gray eyes as the road

hide flowers where he walks .

Via del Campo is a whore

big eyes color of the leaf

if you love her comes the desire

just take it by the hand

and you seem to go away

she looks at you with a smile

did not believe that heaven

there was only the first floor.

Via del Campo there should be a dreamer

to ask her to marry

to see her climb the stairs

until the balcony is closed.

She loves to laugh and if you love answers

you cry if you do not feel strong

diamonds nothing is born

the flowers come from manure

diamonds nothing is born

the flowers come from manure .

Città vecchia (Old Town) (1965)

There is a remarkable similarity between the Trieste that inspired Umberto Saba , poetry, Old Town, and the Genoa De André , homonymous song, ” Old Town ” .

Città vecchia (Saba)

Often, to return to my home

 I take an obscure street of the old city.

 Yellow puddle is reflected in some

 some light , and the road is crowded .

Here among the people who are going 5

 from the tavern to the house or brothel,

 where goods are men and the debris

 a large sea port,

 I find myself , through the infinite

humility . 10

 Here prostitute and the sailor , the old

 that blasphemy , the female that dispute ,

 the dragon who sits at the workshop

 of the fryer ,

the riotous young crazy 15

 love ,

 are all creatures of life

 and pain ;

 stirs in them , like me, the Lord .

Here I feel humble in the company 20

 my thoughts get

 where the purest most shameful is the way.

The inspiration for this song comes from the song to De Andrè also Bistrot Brassens French chanson anarchist . In fact, compared to the eponymous poem by Umberto Saba , the perspective is reversed because Saba said to meet here , but God De Andrè, almost literally translating Jacques Prevert, at the beginning of the song says here that “the sun of the good God does not give its rays “why” already has too many other commitments to warm people of the neighborhood “

De André wrote about this song: ” This is a song that dates back to 1962, where I show that you have always had , both from young to old , very few ideas, but on the other hand fixed . , In the sense that in this song express what I always thought : that there is little merit in virtue and very little fault error. too, because they are not yet able to understand , despite my fifty-eight years , exactly what is virtue and what exactly is the error because you just move to latitude and see how the values ​​become negative values ​​and vice versa. not to mention the move in time : there were moral , in the Middle Ages , the Renaissance , which today are no longer absolutely recognized . Nowadays we complain : i see that there is a great torment on the loss of values. storicizzarli to have to wait . ‘s not that i think that the youth of today have no values ​​, they certainly values ​​that we are not yet able to understand well , because we are too fond of us. ” ” Old Town “

The folk song

Volta la carta (Rimini 1978)

Fabrizio was very close to the folk traditions . He wrote an entire album in Genoa , entitled ” Creuza de ma ” , which means ” mule of the sea.” Other songs he wrote in Sardinian , resuming the tradition , such as ” Ave Maria Sardinian ” or ” Zirichiltaggia .” Fabrizio had a villa in Sardinia. In 1979 he was arrested for a few months with his wife by some Sardinian bandits , but that does not stop him from returning to Sardinia , and to be linked to the Sardinian people. Even the song “Turn the paper ” has to do with the world of popular nursery rhymes , tongue twisters of , the rhyming couplets , so a word he associates another , as in puns. Between stanzas there is the quote of the popular song Madamadorè . The chorus , takes inspiration from another popular song ( Angiolina bell’Angiolina ) and tells the story of a girl named Angiolina , who suffers delusions of love by a policeman , but eventually manages to marry. ” Volta la carta “

Popular culture , the rhymes of children ( between first inspiration of the song “Turn the paper and just Madamadorè ) , the flavor of rural festivals and games together, life as a cycle , where, for a day , to an experience , it happens another . I do not see , in short, in this song all the conspiracy policies that often are associated with songs of De André , but in some people it does not seem possible that once in a while Francis just want to have fun and entertain .

Geordie (1966 )

As evidence of the link Fabrizio with popular culture , there is the Italian version of ” Geordie ” a popular English ballad of the eighteenth century , which tells the true story of a man accused of theft and sentenced to ‘ hanging , of which perhaps you will know the version ” house” Gabry Ponte. ” Geordie “

We said those are the ones that are dear to Fabrizio , the marginalized, the poor , the hanged , of course, but we did not say those who are on the other side : the powerful that does not allow the snub , which has no mercy , which is not is moved even when there is half the love , feeling, otherwise its power could be questioned . If a poacher steals the king’s deer in the woods should be punished in the most severe way ( maybe it was the estate of another man could escape, but the king’s just not). For De André balls can only believe that there are good powers . This ballad is not of De André , but it is translated and sung by De André, since the original is British and dates back to the sixteenth century.


Amore che vieni, amore che vai (Love that you come, Love that you go out)

This song, which is among the first that De André has composed , it gives me a chance to talk to De André and his wife , Dori Ghezzi , although in the case of Dori Ghezzi , love if it came and then went but remained . On the relationship with his wife, who was a singer of songs far from being committed , such as ” A body and soul ,” writes De André : “To some people the fact that I was in love with Dori gives a huge hassle . the myth has collapsed ! they fell in love with the beautiful girl, who believe goose and instead is smarter than me. [… ] Living as a couple for me is necessary, it helps you a lot , you always have a mirror in which to look [ …] . has an ongoing collaboration , trouble if it were not so . ” come Love , love, you go “

The others

As Paul says Jachia in his analysis of Italian songwriters , ” the first spring that triggers the extraordinary poetic imagination of De André – born in Genoa in 1940, […] for sure one of the greatest storytellers and artists of song Italians of this century – is moral indignation , solidarity , even staff with the latest , with minorities . This is true whether they are integers persecuted peoples – from Roma to American Indians of America , from the Palestinians to the Sardinians – whether they are individuals and marginalized wounds , dead hanged , suicide, retirees, and thieves crucified crucify , old alcoholics, soldiers murder victims “

( Paul Jachia , The Italian songwriters 1958-1997 , ed Feltrinelli , p. 91) .

The war

The dead soldiers: La guerra di Piero (War of Piero) ( 1963)

Here, indeed soldiers who were killed , and the absurdity of war , of all wars , talks about the first song today, Fabrizio has written to 23 years: in war there is no time to think, because if you stop for a moment to think, if you wait , the other , the one that has your exact same mood, but the uniform of another color, it kills you , as he told his uncle Fabrizio partisan .

Prostitutes : La canzone di Marinella (Marinella ‘s Song) (1964)

Says De Andrè about his youth : “I’ve done a bit ‘ of everything I went a bit ‘ of medicine, a bit ‘ of letters and then I joined a law giving seriously , if I’m not mistaken , 18 examinations. Nearly graduate then […] then I wrote Marinella , I got a lot of money and I changed my mind […] after Marinella had sung Mina , we were in ’65 , I was married for three years and worked in the private institutions of my father […] . worked there, not knowing what else to do , given that degree you never talked about much because I found it hard to study, in short, this song Marinella sing me Mina, I get 600 thousand pounds in one semester ( very considerable sum for those years .) Then I got laid off , I took stock and barrel , wife, and son -in-law and we moved to Italy Corso , who was a chic district of Genoa […] . from that moment I began to think that perhaps the m’avrebbero songs made ​​more and especially more fun . “

The inspiration for the song Marinella , Fabrizio came from a true story . A girl at age 16, for family reasons, are forced into prostitution , then thrown into a river . Not surprisingly, Fabrizio ” The woman is a symbol of sacrifice , the man of oppression .” ” Marinella ‘s Song “

This was the song that turned out to the genius of Fabrizio, who actually wrote songs since 1957 , but if there had not been Mina to sing this song in television, probably would have remained relatively unknown to most people. As the text says , the story is true . A news story , a sad story like many others, the corpse of a child prostitute found in a river. Inspired by one of the sweetest songs

Prostitutes : Bocca di rosa (Volume I – 1967)

“I would say to be a libertarian , an extremely tolerant. Therefore I hope to be considered worthy of being able to belong to a civil forum because , in my view , tolerance is the first symptom of civilization, derived from libertarianism . Anarchic If then the ‘ have made a negative term , even hideous … anarchist means no government , Anarchus … with this alpha privative , fucking … simply means that one thinks he is civilized enough to be able to govern on their own, giving to others, with confidence (as it has in itself ) , in his own ability . seems to me to be understood as true democracy . […] I believe that anarchism is a refinement of democracy.

It was thanks to Brassens , master of thought and life, which I found to be an anarchist. He taught me , for example, to let the thieves run apple , as he said. He taught me that in the end the reasonableness and social life are more authentic in that part humiliated and marginalized of our society than among the powerful.

Fabrizio says he started to attend the libertarian circles of Genoa and Carrara 17 years old , and since then have not found any more political or social ideas that would explain better our society –

From here the fight against conformism , against the established order , against moral rules , behind which lies a fundamental hypocrisy , as does understanding the famous song ” Franny ” .

Merlin is the law of 1958 , and abrogate the houses of prostitution in Italy . About ten years later , De Andre dedicates this song to the morality of those women , by contrast to the rigid application of the law by the police , and the vulgar moralizing of the wives of the villagers . The only one who cuts a fine figure in this song , as well as Franny , is the pastor who wants in procession , and so leads a walk around the country love the sacred and profane love .

Suicides : Preghiera in gennaio (Prayer in January) (Volume I – 1967)

” Prayer in January ” was written after his friend Luigi Tenco had taken his own life , in fact the night between 26 and 27 January 1967 , after the song he had sung in Sanremo was rejected , however, in circumstances mysterious . Here De Andrè says that heaven is open to those “who preferred death to hatred and ignorance ” (see also ” The Dilemma ” Gaber ), while ” hell exists only for those who fear.”

The killers : Il pescatore (Fisherman) (1970)

The song tells of a complicity between the two characters . The fisherman not only offers hospitality to the murderer , but remains indifferent and silent in front of the policemen who are chasing him . The law says that a crime has to be punished , but who are we to judge? And if the murderess had sincerely repented of what he did , how could it make sense the phrase ” and the memory is already suffering, is already regret ” ? The fisherman can not bring himself to condemn another man, intends to offer him another chance.

In this song , there are two main characters : a murderess chased by the police , and a fisherman , which the murderess asked to eat and drink. A fisherman gives him something to eat and drink , no questions asked , in an almost evangelical . And when they pass the gendarmes , the fisherman does not indicate which way they went the murderess , and falls back to sleep , his face just scored a sly smile . “The Fisherman “

The dwarves Un giudice (A judge)

An ‘ yet another rebellion to respectability , for those who prefer to avoid certain topics , models bourgeois , who view with suspicion those who are different , for one reason or another , those who are too tall or too short, too fat or too skinny. Fabrizio wrote : “Someone (I think Mayakovsky ) said ,” God save us from the damn common sense ” : if everyone were normal , and if they were equipped only with common sense would not exist artists and probably not even the children. ‘” ” A judge “

 A judge ( not the money, not love , nor to Heaven – 1971)

This song is from the album not the money, not to heaven or the 1971 , which is a musical version of Spoon River Anthology , a series of epitaphs published by the American poet Edgar Lee Masters between 1914 and 1915 that depict the life of people buried in the cemetery of an imaginary small town USA. The protagonist of this poem – song, so , so ‘ as in all the poems of Spoon River, is a deceased of this small provincial town , which chronicles his life , and in particular the enjoyment with which , once you become a judge, takes revenge by condemning to death those who earlier had taunted and teased for his ridiculous height. Moral: Do not agree to deride those who consider themselves inferior , because then one day the situation could dramatically tip .

Homosexuals : Andrea (Rimini 1978)

The song speaks of a ” victim of the war. The atmosphere recalls the world of fairy tales, but the pain of the loss of the beloved is tragically real . So Andrea commits suicide by jumping into the well over the bottom of the bottom of the eyes of the Night of Tears , this act [ the final narcissistic almost ] seems the only way to overcome the pain “(Matthew Borsani – Luke Maciacchini , Save a Life , p . 114)

Minorities endless : River Sand Creek (1981)

On November 29, 1864 some troops of the militia of Colorado, commanded by Colonel John Chivington , attacked a village of Cheyenne and Arapaho , after coming away with a trick their soldiers , and they make a killing mostly women and children , which unnecessarily raise white flag. The point of view is that of a small child , a victim of the massacre.


Ave Maria ( The Good News , 1970)

This is the album in which Fabrizio recovers the apocryphal gospels , then humanity , the physicality of the story of Christ , not that of the high priests, but that of the people , as always for Fabrizio . Do you think that the apocryphal gospels have , among other things , inspired by Giotto’s frescoes in the Scrovegni Chapel . But above all, there is no song in the world that speak of women with the same delicacy of what is the best moment of their life , when you deliver a baby .

Spiritual (Volume I – 1967)

I think this song has inspired the more recent ” You have a God moment ” Ligabue , in the sense that the perspective is the same, a kind of provocation to God if you’re there, knock once , hard to see, hard to meet in the maize fields for example . No coincidence that this song is called “Spiritual ” and the title , the musical style and this reference to the maize fields are immediately think of one of the persecuted peoples who were very dear to Fabrizio , that of American blacks , slaves for centuries

You should know that the first song I heard of De André I heard in church. When I was a kid , this song was sung at Mass, were made ​​famous beats of the seventies. Significantly, Fabrizio has titled this song “Spiritual ” , wanting to actually overturn the spiritualism of those songs in American blacks . ” God of heaven “

Il testamento di Tito (The will of Titus)

Provided that religion is not reduced to the institution ( Fabrizio is intolerant towards any dogma ) , religion is an inspirational theme of many of his songs, or entire albums , such as ” The Good News ” . In the song that I sing now , there is a reading ” opposite ” of the Ten Commandments : ” The will of Titus “


S’i fossi foco (If I was fire) (Volume III – 1968)

The lyrics of this song is two hundred , Cecco Angiolieri . The richness and variety of our poetry of the thirteenth century is also evidenced by the comic -realistic poetry , whose greatest exponent is precisely Cecco Angiolieri . The last stanza makes us realize , however, that the whole song is a game, in spite of those who interpret it instead as an earnest ballad pre-revolutionary .

Don Raffaè ( Clouds 1990)

The song, which was written by De Andre together with lyricist Max Bubola , music by Mauro Pagani , is a denunciation of the Italian prison system . In fact, the jailer Pasquale Cafiero condescends to all the vagaries of the Camorra boss Raffaele Cutolo , the shaves and offers him coffee , and in return asks for a job for his brother in law