Secondhand songs

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Secondhand songs

Post by calum » Sun Mar 31, 2013 9:33 pm

For many Britons it may come as a surprise to learn that the Dusty Springfield hit: You Don't Have to Say You Love Me, was originally an Italian song, Io che non vivo (senza te), performed by Pino Donaggio in the 1965 San Remo Festival.

Do you know of other songs which have achieved success in translation from Italian to English, or vice versa?
Have you a particular favourite?


Calum

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Re: Secondhand songs

Post by BillyShears » Mon Apr 01, 2013 2:01 am

Ciao a tutti e buona Pasqua,

O Sole Mio -> There's No Tomorrow and (most famously) "It's Now Or Never"

Balla Linda (Lucio Battisti) -> Bella Linda (The Grass Roots)

Piangi Con Me -> Let's Live For Today (The Grass Roots)

Time to watch "A Game of Thrones" now.

A presto,

BS
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Chi domanda non fa errori.

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Re: Secondhand songs

Post by BillyShears » Mon Apr 01, 2013 4:52 pm

Ciao a tutti,

I remember a friend of mine sending me an email related to this Found Not Guilty of Plagiarism. You can judge for yourself whether or not you think the verdict was just.

"I Cigni di Balaka" (Al Bano)
"Will You Be There" (Michael Jackson)

BS
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Re: Secondhand songs

Post by Quintus » Wed Apr 03, 2013 12:56 am

calum wrote:For many Britons it may come as a surprise to learn that the Dusty Springfield hit: You Don't Have to Say You Love Me, was originally an Italian song, Io che non vivo (senza te), performed by Pino Donaggio in the 1965 San Remo Festival.

Do you know of other songs which have achieved success in translation from Italian to English, or vice versa?
Have you a particular favourite?

Calum
I only know about songs that were rewritten with Italian words on the original sound. For example, there's "Senza luce" (1967), which is the Italian version of "A Whiter Shade of Pale". But it's not interesting. The sound is not bad, but
it can be no way compared to Procol Harum's song, not even minimally, which is anyway obvious given the nature of the text of "A Whiter Shade of Pale", to say nothing of the original sound.

Instead, "Pregherò" , singed by Celentano, and written for him by Don Backy, who reinvented the text of the beatiful "Stand By Me", is way far better. The song was originally written and performed by Ben E. King and John Lennon recorded his version in 1975. In my opinion (and not only mine) Celentano is our best interpreter. I defined him "interpreter" as he doesn't use to write the lyrics of the songs he sings, so that his contribution to the rendering is fundamental.

I had the lyrics of this song already translated in my archives, so I only had to copy and paste them here. But I'd like to have my rough English translation for this song revised by a native speaker, time permitting.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d50czlhh5Dw

He talks to a girl who can't see, a blind girl.

«
Pregherò per te
I will pray for you,

che hai la notte nel cuor
who have the night in your heart

e se tu lo vorrai crederai.
and if you will want it, you will believe.

Io lo so perché
I know (it,) why

tu la fede non hai,
you haven't faith,

ma se tu lo vorrai crederai.
but if you will want it, you will believe.

Non devi odiare il sole
You must not hate the sun

perché tu non puoi vederlo, ma c'é,
because you can't see it, but it is there,

ora splende su di noi, su di noi.
it shines on us just now, on us.

Dal castello ode il silenzio,
From his castle, He hears the silence,

egli vede anche te, e già sento
He sees you too, and I already feel [1]

che anche tu lo vedrai.
that you too will see Him.

E chissà se lo vedrai
And who know if you will see Him

solo con gli occhi miei
just by my eyes only

ed il mondo la sua luce riavrà.
and the world will have its light again.

Io t'amo, t'amo, t'amo
I love you, love you, love you

questo é il primo segno
this is the first sign

che dà la tua fede
that you faith in the Lord gives (to you),

nel Signor, nel Signor.
in the Lord, in the Lord.

La fede è il più bel dono
Faith is the most beatiful gift

che il Signore ci dà
that the Lord give us

per vedere in Lui,
to look into Him

e allor tu vedrai,
and so you shall see

tu vedrai, tu vedrai.
you shall see, you shall see.
»


Quintus

-
[1]
With a happy figure, God is imagined as an entity who inhabits a castle and from it he is able to "hear the silence" of despair. In the next two lines he uses the pronoun "lo", which could mean "it", referring to the sun, or "Him", to God. Probably is a "Him", but as the girl will ideally start seeing the sun just when she will start believing in God, in this context the difference is pointless.

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Re: Secondhand songs

Post by Itikar » Wed Apr 03, 2013 6:36 pm

From Italian to English I don't know any unfortunately.

Anyway I know some translated into Italian by Fabrizio de Andrè from French, Georges Brasse being the original author.

Il Gorilla
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Es58u7EyU20
Le Gorille:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ja665-6h_sA

Morire per delle idee
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gwFnbQM4Dts
Mourir pour des idées
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lLJW0FrQlAM

Marcia nuziale
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=42mYpQHTDnY
Marche nuptiale
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HvOXsHnVLMs

edit:
Thanks for correction Calum. :)
Last edited by Itikar on Thu Apr 04, 2013 2:45 pm, edited 2 times in total.
I would be very grateful, if you could please correct my English.

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Re: Secondhand songs

Post by calum » Thu Apr 04, 2013 11:59 am

Quintus wrote:
I had the lyrics of this song already translated in my archives, so I only had to copy and paste them here. But I'd like to have my rough English translation for this song revised by a native speaker, time permitting.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d50czlhh5Dw

The lyrics make sense for me up until this section, when I no longer understand the point being made.


questo é il primo segno
this is the first sign

che dà la tua fede
that you faith in the Lord gives (to you),

nel Signor, nel Signor.
in the Lord, in the Lord.

Assuming that the singer is suggesting that the blind girl should regard his love for as the first indication that she ought to have faith in the Lord, my attempt for this part would be:

questo [the singer's love] é il primo segno
this is the first sign

che dà la tua fede nel Signor
that gives (to) you your faith in the Lord,



Then there is this line:

per vedere in Lui,
to look into Him

which doesn't seem right.

I watched the video closely and couldn't hear the word 'in' in the lyrics here (but I may be mistaken). So, my suggestion for this part is:

La fede è il più bel dono
Faith is the most beatiful gift

che il Signore ci dà
that the Lord give us

per vedere Lui,
to see Him


My full version is:

Pregherò per te
I will pray for you,

che hai la notte nel cuor
someone who has the night in her heart[1]

e se tu lo vorrai crederai.
and if you want it you will believe.

Io lo so perché
I know why

tu la fede non hai,
you don't have faith,

ma se tu lo vorrai crederai.
but if you want it you'll believe.

Non devi odiare il sole
You must not hate the sun

perché tu non puoi vederlo, ma c'é,
because you can't see it, but it is there,

ora splende su di noi, su di noi.
it shines on us just now, on us.

Dal castello ode il silenzio,
From His castle, He hears the silence,

egli vede anche te, e già sento
He sees you too, and I already sense

che anche tu lo vedrai.
that you too will see Him.

E chissà se lo vedrai
And who knows whether you will see Him

solo con gli occhi miei
only through my eyes

ed il mondo la sua luce riavrà.
and the world will have its light again.

Io t'amo, t'amo, t'amo
I love you, love you, love you

questo é il primo segno
this is the first sign

che dà la tua fede
that gives you your faith,

nel Signor, nel Signor.
in the Lord, in the Lord.

La fede è il più bel dono
Faith is the most beatiful gift

che il Signore ci dà
that the Lord gives us

per vedere Lui,
to see Him

e allor tu vedrai,
and so you shall see

tu vedrai, tu vedrai.
you shall see, you shall see.



[1] If I may be allowed a little poetic licence here, I toyed with this line instead:
someone who has darkness in her heart



Do you agree with these interpretations? It's very tricky translating poems and songs while remaining faithful to the sentiment of the original.

regards,
Calum

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Re: Secondhand songs

Post by calum » Thu Apr 04, 2013 12:18 pm

Itikar wrote:From Italian to English I don't know any [anyone] unfortunately.

Anyway I know some translated into Italian by Fabrizio de Andrè from French, Georges Brasse being the original author.

Il Gorilla
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Es58u7EyU20
I liked that one, very funny!

Calum

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Re: Secondhand songs

Post by Quintus » Thu Apr 04, 2013 11:56 pm

calum wrote: I watched the video closely and couldn't hear the word 'in' in the lyrics here (but I may be mistaken).
Ciao calum,

Ho provato a risentirlo varie volte, ma a me sembra che dica vedere in lui, although it's not that one can expect to hear the "in" as a separate word. The compound sound seems to be "vedere 'n lui", i.e. vederenlui, with a tiny residual of a "i" (or no "i" at all) and a barely perceptible "n" (it would be the same in the everyday speaking too, not only as it's a song). The lyrics I found on the net report "vedere lui", though I can't credit them completely, as most of them, for example, a few lines above report "dal castello del silenzio" (from the castle of the silence) instead of "dal castello ode il silenzio" (from the castle he hears the silence), because of an erroneous joining of vowels like this: dal castello ode il silenzio -> dal castelloo deil silenzio -> dal castello del silenzio.
I will try to listen to it with my headphones, but need some wiring as I'm working with an old wreck and don't have a low impedance output from the sound card. I will be able to tell you something more precise tomorrow.

Thanks for now,
Quintus

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Re: Secondhand songs

Post by Quintus » Fri Apr 05, 2013 3:56 pm

Yes, he says "vedere lui". The further consonant I hear between "vedere" and "lui" is not a "n", it is an additional "l". In other words, he says vederellui (vedere llui), not vederenlui (vedere in lui). To keep in pace with the music he needs to shorten the last "e" of "vedere" (as well as lenghten the "u" of lui), and doubling the "l" helps him to shorten it, although it's not the stressed vowel. So, the resulting sound from joining these two words is vedérellùuui.
Celentano is also an actor and actors, as well as doublers, are always tought to double (or, let's say, strengthen) the first consonant of almost any word. This gives the words a much more neat, cutting sound, preventing one's speech from collapsing into that sort of a lullaby which is so common for anybody to hear, in any language, from people speaking lazily or mumbling [1].

The curious thing, however, is that I can't fully understand the lack of sense you mentioned for "vedere in lui" in respect to "vedere lui". I share your point that for the framework of this song "vedere lui" is the most proper expression (she will see the sun, she will se Him), this is out of question. But, as you could say "quell'uomo riesce a vedere il futuro" (that man can see the future) [transitive] as well as "quell'uomo riesce a vedere nel futuro" (that man can see into the future) [intransitive], I can't perceive such a lack of sense. In the intransitive mode both "vedere" and "see" may take the sense of "guardare" and "look", respectively (e.g. "when you look into the abyss, the abyss looks into you"). But probably it's me. My personal convinctions, which aren't exactly the same as the ones expressed by the canonical religious opinion, may influence my linguistic vision of things leading me to consider acceptable a sense that could differ from the common one.

As for the other interpretations of yours, I like them all, especially this phrase: "this is the first sign that gives you your faith", where the subordinate relative clause is a OVS one. With my desire to move the subject to the end of a sentence, I would like to do it a lot of times, but my useless grammar books don't give examples about that, if not the contrary. I noticed that you already used a verb-subject sequence in your translation of "Il tasso del Tasso": «another oak within whose branches lived one of those little creatures of the plantigrado sort, called badgers». Time permitting, I will post a question soon about this in the "Come si dice in inglese?" section.

Molte grazie,
Quintus

-
[1]
You have an example here about a tremendous strengthening of leading consonants, as well as about a lot of other aspects of a recitation where everything is pulled to an ultimate extent. It's Carmelo Bene reading the Divine Comedy's Hell's Fifth canto.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hs1e9eap ... re=related

Some examples:
0:40 "e ferme al dolce nnnido"
1:03 "per l'aere ppperso"
1:16 "se fosse amico il re dell'universo, nnnoi..."
1:41 "sulla mmmarina"

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Re: Secondhand songs

Post by calum » Tue Apr 09, 2013 10:21 pm

Here's another song, which I really liked back in the '80s, that I didn't know was originally Italian: Gloria. Here's the version by Laura Branigan - http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=1tVutw8rjFk
and the original by Umberto Tozzi : http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=5n2cIZ0T77Q

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Re: Secondhand songs

Post by Quintus » Wed May 08, 2013 4:40 pm

Quello che segue è di seconda mano per entrambi i mondi, infatti The Chicken Dance nacque nel '50 nella Svizzera tedesca per mano di Werner Thomas. La versione anglosassone non è cantata:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6UV3kRV46Zs

Per quella italiana, intitolata Il ballo del qua qua, è stato creato il testo ufficiale che potete ascoltare attraverso i collegamenti riportati qui sotto.
In questa esecuzione le parole sono pronunciate un po' rapidamente, but the bouncing ball will help you to follow them syllable by syllable. Note that the line that reads «più qua qua qua», used as a closure of each strophe, should instead read «il qua qua qua»:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2zjdO6rl0KE

Qui è cantata per noi dall'indimenticabile Romina Power:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E1kKJims654

-

The Off-Topic Corner

Parlando di Romina non era possibile non ricordarla una volta ancora.

Ci sarà (There will be):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f-LdY8rx ... =endscreen

Ah Romina Romina, dove sei Romina? This cold and gloomy country would still need your smile Romina.

Quintus

-
P.S.
Romina sings in such a perfect Italian that the first time I heard her I thought she had a very very slight northern Italian accent.

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Re: Secondhand songs

Post by Darowyn » Thu May 23, 2013 9:37 am

I have always found that songs originally written in other European languages are butchered by the translators when translated into English.
A classic case is the Jacques Brel song "Le Moribond" which becomes the sickly sweet "Seasons in the Sun" in in English.
The Italian example i'm thinking of is "Volare"

Penso che un sogno cosi no ritorni mai piu
Mi dipingeva le mani e la faccia di blu.
E poi d'improviso venivo del vento rapito,
E incominciavo a volare in cielo infinito.

Volare, Oh oh!
Cantare Oh oh oh oh
Nel blu dipinto di blu
Felice di stare lassu

E volavo, volavo felice più in alto del sole ed ancora più in su
Mentre il mondo pian piano spariva, lontano laggiù
Una musica dolce suonava soltanto per me

Volare, oh oh...
Cantare, oh oh oh oh
Nel blu dipinto di blu
Felice di stare lassù

Ma tutti i sogni nell'alba svaniscono perché
Quando tramonta, la luna li porta con sé
Ma io continuo a sognare negli occhi tuoi belli
Che sono blu come un cielo trapunto di stelle

Volare, oh oh...
Cantare, oh oh oh oh
Nel blu degli occhi tuoi blu
Felice di stare quaggiù

E continuo a volare felice più in alto del sole ed ancora più in su
Mentre il mondo pian piano scompare negli occhi tuoi blu
La tua voce è una musica dolce che suona per me

Volare, oh oh...
Cantare, oh oh oh oh
Nel blu degli occhi tuoi blu
Felice di stare quaggiù

Nel blu degli occhi tuoi blu
Felice di stare quaggiù
Con te

It's wierd and a bit trippy, but if you don't have that first verse, the line "nel blu dipinto di blu" makes no sense at all!

but this is what we got in English:-

Sometimes the world is a valley of heartaches and tears,
And in the hustle and bustle, no sunshine appears,
But you and I have our love always there to remind us
There is a way we can leave all the shadows behind us.
Volare, oh, oh! Cantare, oh, oh, oh, oh!
Let's fly way up in the clouds,away from the maddening crowds
We can sing in the glow of a star that I know of
Where lovers enjoy peace of mind
Let us leave the confusion and all disillusion behind
Just like birds of a feather, a rainbow together we'll find
Volare, oh, oh! Cantare, oh, oh, oh, oh!
No wonder my happy heart sings, your love has given me wings
Your love has given me wings, your love has given me wings

"Maddening crowd" is annoying too. Thomas Hardy wrote "Far from the madding crowd"
It seems that the cleverness and originality of the Italian song just gets put through the Tin Pan Alley sausage machine and comes out as another bog-standard sentimental love song.
Cheers
Dave

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Re: Secondhand songs

Post by Peter » Thu May 23, 2013 12:56 pm

Dave

I think in context nel blu dipinto in blu means 'in the sky painted in blue'. It was also a device used by Zucchero when he adapted Procol Harum's A Salty Dog, using just one phrase (sea so blue) towards the end of the second verse to come up with Nel Così Blu.

Salty Dog

We sailed for parts unknown to man
Where ships come home to die
No lofty peak, nor fortress bold
Could match our captain's eye
Upon the seventh sea-sick day
We made our port of call
A sand so white, and sea so blue
No mortal place at all

Nel Così Blu

Di vento e dune, di notti intere e bianche in mare insieme a lei.
E me ne andai nel così blu e non lo so s'io più tornai.
In testa ho la frase che lei disse. Resta in testa a me.

There is a topic covering this that you may find interesting: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=5311.

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Re: Secondhand songs

Post by Darowyn » Fri May 24, 2013 9:35 am

Ciao Peter,
I was not saying that I did not understand "Nel blu dipinto di blu", but that versions with the English lyrics missed out the verse about the singer painting himself blue, making the second line of the chorus a very strange one!
I wonder how deep azzurro has to be before it becomes blu? In songs, I'm guessing that it has more to do with the rhymes in a song lyric!
Cheers

Dave

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