Tag Archives: moda

Translating cheesy Italian pop songs, pt 2

So I’ve already had a few attempts at translating Italian pop songs into English. These are generally songs that I’ve found catchy, but have been largely unable to translate in my head while I’m listening. I never know what they are or who they’re by, as the station our radio is mostly tuned to doesn’t give such info.

Anyway, a song struck me lately, so I looked it up online, and lo it’s by the same band that I translated before, here. The song’s called ‘Come un pittore’ – Like a painter – and the band’s Modà, and I guess they’re quite big here. I said before, they’re perhaps the Italian Coldplay. Though they sing in Italian, so haven’t quite been exported so successfully. Oh, and this one seems to be a song “feat. Jarabedepalo”, a Spanish group. I believe that’s their singer Pau Donés in the video, below.

I’d say this song sounds like a nursery rhyme (filastrocca), but that’d be unfair to nursery rhymes. When you think about it, a babyish love song is a disturbing thing.

And having said all that, I must admit I quite like it – it’s idiotically sentimental and cheesy but has singalong value, the bottom line of any good pop song. Plus, the fact that I can just about sing along with an Italian pop song, and understand some of it, gives me a good feeling, a sense of progress on my pathetically slow journey on the road to acquiring Italian.

Here’s the official video:

(Why is he making the – very rude – sign of the cuckold at the end of the vid?! I’m really confused now. Is it only rude the other way round?)

Here are the original lyrics:

Ciao, semplicemente ciao.
Difficile trovar parole molto serie,
tenterò di disegnare…
come un pittore,
farò in modo di arrivare dritto al cuore
con la forza del colore.

Guarda… Senza parlare.

Azzurro come te,
come il cielo e il mare
E giallo come luce del sole,
Rosso come le
cose che mi fai… provare.

Ciao, semplicemente ciao.
Disegno l’erba verde come la speranza
e come frutta ancora acerba.
E adesso un po’ di blu
Come la notte
E bianco come le sue stelle
con le sfumature gialle

E l’aria… Puoi solo respirarla!

Azzurro come te,
come il cielo e il mare
E giallo come luce del sole,
Rosso come le
cose che mi fai… provare.

Per le tempeste non ho il colore
Con quel che resta, disegno un fiore
Ora che è estate, ora che è amore…

Azzurro come te,
come il cielo e il mare
E giallo come luce del sole,
Rosso come le
cose che mi fai… provare.

And here’s my stab at a translation:

Hi, just hi.*
It’s hard to find the right words,
so I’ll try to sketch it…
like a painter,
that way, I’ll try to get straight to the heart
with the strength of colour.

Look*… without words*

Blue like you,
like the sky and the sea
And yellow like sunlight
Red like the
things you do to me… Trying.*

Hi, just hi.
I paint the grass green like hope*
and like fruit that’s not ripe.
And now, a bit of blue
Like the night
And white like the stars*
with hints of yellow

And the air…. You just want to breath it!

Blue like you,
like the sky and the sea
And yellow like sunlight
Red like the
things you do to me… Trying.

For storms, I just don’t have the colours
All that remains, I paint a flowerer
Now it’s the summer, now there’s love.

Blue like you,
like the sky and the sea
And yellow like sunlight
Red like the
things you do to me… Trying.

*
“Look” in the sense of “Behold!” perhaps.
“Without words” – or maybe “Without talking”
“Trying” – provare is the verb to try, but also to demonstrate, to feel, to experience. Not really sure what it means here.
Is hope green? Maybe in Italy.
“Like the stars” – or “like her stars”?

I’m probably doing these bards a terrible disservice with my crude translation.

Oh, and if anyone things I’m being rude about Italy here, I don’t agree. I’m being rude about cheesy pop. And I’m enjoying the challenge of translating it, as part of the process of learning Italian.
English language songs can, of course, be equally cheesy. Especially if they’re by Coldplay.

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Filed under Learning Italian, Main thread

Translating cheesy Italian pop songs

Today, for some semblance of Italian self-education or compiti (homework), I’m going to try and translate the lyrics of this song they keep playing on the radio.

Thank you Ram Power 102.7FM for getting this one stuck in my head.

I can almost feel my music taste getting shifting, uncomfortably.

The inner me dismisses this one as deeply naff, like a kind of Italian Coldplay – a band that, well, no male should be listening to or enjoying, especially not if they’re beyond adolescence.

The song in question is ‘Tappeto di fragole’ by Modà. Check out the official video:

See, a girl, singing along. It’s for girls. And they leap around in their stadium like rockers, when they’re playing pop that by no stretch can be called rock. Other than by Wikipedia, which may well be down today to protest SOPA, but isn’t as comprehensively down in Italy. So the Italian page, translated by Google for me, says “The fashion are a band pop rock Italian .” [very much sic.]

And yet, my inner me isn’t entirely prevailing here. I kinda like it, as an exercise in cheesily emotive power pop pap, with lyrics I really can’t follow. All I could get initially was that he’s singing about strawberries, fragole. A carpet (tappeto) of them, in fact.

Here are the full lyrics:

Resto fermo tra le onde
mentre penso a te,
fuoco rosso luce e rondine..
tra le foglie soffia
un vento molto debole,
nel frattempo un fiore
sta per nascere..

eccoci qua,
a guardare le nuvole
su un tappeto di fragole..
come si fa,
a spiegarti se mi agito
e mi rendo ridicolo..

tu parlami e stringimi
oppure fingi di amarmi,

in una foto un po’ ingiallita
è tutto quello che ho,
e non capisco se ridevi o no..
qui trafitto sulla terra
steso me ne sto,
aspettando di volare un po’..

eccoci qua.
a guadare le nuvole
su un tappeto di fragole..
come si fa,
a spiegarti se mi agito
e mi rendo ridicolo,

tu parlami, stringimi
oppure fingi di amarmi
x2

And here is my terrible attempt to render them into English:
I remain still in the waves
While I think of you,
Firelight and swallows
Among the soft leaves
A gentle breeze
While a flower
is opening.

(Ooh boy, I could sense it was cheesy, but that is truly cheese-tastic. Even in bad English translation.)

And here we are
Watching the clouds
On a carpet on strawberries
How it is
I tell you how you make me feel.
And I make a fool of myself.

(? Hm. Dunno. Those reflexives and pronouns really mess me up. Sorry. Plus come si fa is an idiomatic expression so probably needs an English idiomatic expression, but I’m not sure which.)

You talk to me and hug me
Or you pretend to love me.

(I think. How sad. Boo hoo.)

In a yellowing photo
Is everything that I have
And I don’t understand why you were laughing o no
Who I pierce on the ground [??]
I lie down [???]
I am waiting to fly a bit.

(Sorry that lost me completely. With only basic Italian, it’s hard to a] understand the idiomatic usage and b] render that into viable, idiomatic English. Anyway, avanti!)

Oh, that’s it. Now it’s just the chorus again –

And here we are
Watching the clouds
On a carpet on strawberries
How it is
I tell you how you make me feel.
And I make a fool of myself.

– and the funny little extra chorus element, no idea what the technical term is –

You talk to me and hug me
Or you pretend to love me.
x2

Now I can sing along, in English! Maybe.

And apologies to anyone who’s offended by my jovial cynicism, good-humoured sarcasm, possible sexism, or general benign maligning of Modà.

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Filed under Learning Italian, Main thread, Rome