Napule è

Pino Daniele (1977)

Napule è mille culure,
Napule è mille paure,
Napule è a voce de’ creature
che saglie chiane chiane
E tu sai ca nun si sule.

Napule è nu sole amaro,
Napule è addore e mare,
Napule è na carta sporca,
e nisciuno se ne importa.
E ognuno aspetta a ’ciorta

Napule è na’ camminata,
dinte e viche miezo all’ ate,
Napule è tutto nu’ suonno
e ’o sape tutto ‘o munno
Ma nun sann’ a verità.

Napule è mille culure,
Napule è mille paure,
Napule è nu sole amaro,
Napule è addore è mare
Napule è na carta sporca
e nisciuno se ne importa
Napule è na’ camminata
dinte viche miezo all’ate
Napule è tutto nu suonno
e a sape tutto o’ munno.

Napule è mille culure,
Napule è mille paure
Napule è nu sole amaro,
Napule è addore e’ mare.

Naples is

Translated by: Francesco Ciabattoni

Naples is a thousand colors,
Naples is a thousand fears,
Naples is the voices of the children
rising slowly
and you know you’re not alone.

Naples is a bitter sun,
Naples is the scent of sea,
Naples is some dirty litter
that nobody cares about
and everybody awaits its fate.

Naples is a walk around
the streets among the others
Naples is really just a dream
and the whole world knows it,
but they do not know the truth.

Naples is a thousand colors,
Naples is a thousand fears,
Naples is a bitter sun,
Naples is the scent of sea,
Naples is some dirty litter
that nobody cares about
Naples is a walk around
in the streets wounding around
Naples is really just a dream
and the whole world knows it.

Naples is a thousand colors,
Naples is a thousand fears
Naples is a bitter sun,
Naples is the scent of sea.

By Anthony Deldonna (Georgetown University)

The first track on his seminal debut Terra mia (1977), “Napule è” grounds the listener in the sounds, sights, and images of the once-great southern capital. Bolstered by the lush introduction featuring solo oboe over the plaintive chords of the piano joined quickly by the swelling strings and mandolins arousing sounds of the great canzone tradition, Daniele evokes in his distinctive, breathless whisper postcard images of the city. Yet this is the Naples of 1977, beset by unemployment, corruption, and the never-ending crisis of rifiuti along the famed lungomare with Vesuvius looming in the distance, source of that same “terra” and the visual embodiment of the city. “Napule è” is nevertheless a love song to those who “know” the “real” city and the eternal paradox of its life, history, and continued existence. The verses in Neapolitan are rife with nostalgia and bittersweet melancholy, underlined by the vacillation from major (C-F-G) to minor (a-e) sonorities, the latter shading the music with a sense of disillusionment and even muted anger. Daniele juxtaposes images of the visual splendor of Naples with its present reality (colors versus fears; sun/sea versus litter; sumptuous palazzi versus decrepit housing of the alleyways, etc.); the realities of his generation. Indeed these are the words of everyday Neapolitans, rich in metaphor, yet terse and grounded in the certainty of present hardships and an absence of change. Some of the most poignant moments of the song remain nevertheless unsung, instead given over to falsetto vocalise as if even Daniele remained at a loss to express his innermost thoughts and feelings about the city, which he embodied so deeply.