My household on both political parties is Italian, but we didn"t speak Italian in the house because of the American melt pot" principle that ran through much of the 20th century and lingering prejudice against Italian-Americans. And also yet, i did spend some of my youth listening to old Italian songs--on records, performed at parties, and also sung in ~ weddings. Those who have seen the movie The Godfather have heard the Neapolitan tune "C"e la luna mezzo mare" sung by the mom of the bride in the opened wedding scene, and also the song has actually been a frequent component of Italian-American wedding receptions. Yet translating or explaining or even singing these song to particular audiences can be complicated because they often tend to be, for desire of a better word, earthy.

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When mine wife and I were in Italy ~ above a pilgrimage and an Italian bishops was with us, after dinner, he said we song songs. Passionate to show off, I started to sing, We", Marie." The bishop blushed, stammered, said, "I cannot song that," and also walked away. The was probably because the Italian lyrics, sung by a man outside of a resting woman"s window, mean, roughly, "What lengthy restless nights you have expense me./Let me sleep with my eight wrapped tight approximately you."
It"s sung to a sprightly tarantella. But the lyrics translate as a dialogue in between a daughter and also her mother:
And climate the mother goes on come describe similar ends if the daughter marries the carpenter, the shoemaker, the farmer, the butcher, the fisherman, and the gardener. The outcomes sound violent, but there"s sexual definition behind every profession--the butcher has actually a sausage in his hand, the gardener has a cucumber, etc.
In reworking the lyrics into English, songwriters took an excellent liberties for the American market. A variation that was famous in the 1930s and also 1940s was title "Oh, Ma-Ma (The Butcher Boy)" and went choose this:
Its pigeon-English is insulting for Italian-Americans, but it"s not surprising they walk simplistic provided the sexual innuendo of the original. And also the finest they could do to be "cheery-beery"?
When i was cultivation up, I"d listen Al Martino sing his recording of the song, titled "Lazy Mary,"which was well-known then. He sings an initial in Italian and then, the says, he will certainly sing the next verse in "British," with, again, text that have actually nothing to perform with the original yet are violation to Italians in a different way:
The singer/bandleader luigi Prima came closer to the original in his English lyrics, back he only mentions the butcher boy who has a cannoli in his hand and the musician that carries a trumpet.
The original lyrics because that "Ce la luna" reflect a culture that was bawdy and also rough through women. There"s no disguising it. Pertained to think the it, it to be an appropriate song to start The Godfather.
Italian lyrics, also non-earthy, non-violent ones, are likewise just challenging to translate. "Ce" la luna" isn"t yes, really in Italian. It"s in the Neapolitan language with part Sicilian mixed in. Ns remember questioning my sister Jean, that studied and studied and also learned come speak Italian really well, about Dean Martin"s recording of "Volare," which way "to fly." he sings some of it in Italian and the remainder in English. Wherein the Italian text go, "Nel blu, dipinto di blu/E che dici di stare lasu," Martin equates it as, "No wonder mine happy heart sings,/Your love has provided them wings." even I, v my bad Italian, couldn"t find any similarity in between the 2 lyrics. Jean claimed that the track is about the singer gift transported into the skies through his love and that earlier in the tune the Italian text go, "I think a dream favor this never ever comes back,/You repaint me with your hands and your confront is blue,/Then unexpectedly I was kidnapped through the wind/And began to fly in the limitless sky." and so, the critical lines, start "Nel blu" translate as "In blue, painted blue, happy to be there ." The English lyric writers didn"t try to interpret this ethereal concept and also instead went v lines like, "Let"s fly means up to the clouds,/Away indigenous the maddening crowds." A lot to be lost.

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But that"s commonly the method it is through translations. Something is constantly lost.