Lo chiamavano vient’ ‘e terra

Words & Music by Enzo Gragnaniello (2018)

Lo chiamavano vient’ ‘e terra
addo passava careven ’n terr
tutt e bidun’ ’ra spazzatura
for a sti vasc’ for ’e purtun’.

Quant tenev’ e’ capill luong’
a gent ricev’ ca chill’ è drogat
quant pigliav a chitarra man
a gent ricev’ ca chill’ era stran.

Era sultant nu buon’ guaglion’
ca mmiezz’ all’ate facev’ rummor
’e stu rummor nun era cuntent
pigliai a vita e a vuttai rint o vient.

A quindic’ ann già ’ncopp a nu tren
currev luntan currev a Milano
senza ’na meta senza programm
comm’ a nu top arrubbav’ ’rint ’e tram.

Se faccett nu sacc r’amic,
guagliun ’r ’o sud e senza ’na casa
s’appicciaven e sigarett’
e ogni fumat passava na notte.

Ropp tre ann a ddurmi’ miezz ’a via
le sagl’ ’o poc e malincunia
se piglia ’o treno e fa a miezz ’o bigliett
ma quand torna nisciun l’aspett.

Megl’ na cammenata
ncopp’ a sti scoglie ‘e santa Lucia
meglio addo ce sta o sole
addo ce sta tutt’ e pure nient.

Meglio ’na cammenata
vicino ’o mare e vicino ’o vient’
meglio addo ce sta ’o sole
addo ce sta tutt’ eppure nient.

A diciott’ ann senza lavoro
senza na lir’, senza ragione
ver ’na machina senza padrone
se votta a rint’ e accumencia a fui’.

Ropp nu poc gia l’hann bloccat
rint’ ’a nu carcer l’hann purtat
passave ’e nott rint a ’na cell
senza ’na cart senza ’na penna.

Ogni pensier sapev’ e mare
e ogni suonn sunnav a te
Rosa Rusett ma che peccat
chill’ vulev’ sultant a te

Megl’ na cammenata
’ncopp’ a sti scoglie e santa Lucia
meglio addo ce sta ’o sole
addo ce sta tutt e pure nient.

Meglio na cammenata
vicino ’o mare e vicino ’o vient
meglio addo ce sta ’o sole
addo ce sta tutt e pure nient.

Ropp passat chest’avventur
for a sti cell for a sti mure
trov’ ’na foll ’e dissoccupat
trov’ ’na voglia e se ribella.

Scriv’ e canzon che parlen’ e vita
e gente che soffre e gente che rir’
scriv e canzon p’ ’a gent soia
ma ’a gent soia nun riesc’ a capi.

Ma ricev’ ca nun fa nient
bast ca nuie simm’ cuntent
mo se fa notte e penza all’ammor
penza a Rosetta, scrive e canzon.

They Called Him Wind of the Earth

Translated by: Francesco Ciabattoni

They called him wind of the earth,
where he passed all the garbage cans
fell to the ground
outside the slum houses,[1] outside the doors.

When he had long hair
the people said he was a junkie
when he took his guitar in his hands
the people said he was a strange guy.

He was just a good guy
who was making noise with the others
but was not happy with this noise
I took life and threw it into the wind.

At fifteen years old he was already on a train
running away, running to Milan
without a goal, without a plan
like a weasel he picked pockets on a tram.

He made a lot of friends,
boys from the south without a home
they’d light up a cigarette
and with each puff a night would pass.

After three years of sleeping in the streets
some melancholy came over him
he takes the train and splits up the ticket
but when he gets back, no one is waiting for him.

It’s better to a take a walk
on these sea rocks in Santa Lucia
it’s best where the sun is out
where everything is there and yet nothing is.

It’s better to a take a walk
on the seashore, in the wind
it’s best where the sun is out
where everything is there and yet nothing is.

At eighteen years old, no job
no money, no purpose,
he sees a car without an owner
he sneaks inside and begins to escape.

After a while they’ve already pulled him over
and take him to jail
he spent the nights in a cell
without pen or paper.

Each one of his thoughts smelled like the sea
and each dream was about you
Rosa, Rosetta, what a pity,
all he wanted is you.

It’s better to a take a walk
on these sea rocks in Santa Lucia
it’s best where the sun is out
where everything is there and yet nothing is.

It’s better to a take a walk
on the seashore, in the wind
it’s best where the sun is out
where everything is there and yet nothing is.

After this misadventure
out of the cell, out of jail
he finds a crowd of unemployed
he finds a purpose and begins to rebel.

He writes songs that talk about life,
about people who suffer, people who laugh
he writes songs for his own people
although his own people do not understand.

But he said it’s alright,
as long as we are happy
now the night is falling and he thinks of love
he thinks of Rosetta and writes songs.

[1] A vascio (or basso napoletano, in Italian) is a ground-level apartment of one or two rooms, with a direct access from the street. It is typical of Naples’ poor neighborhoods.