Via del campo

Fabrizio De André, (Bluebell Records, 1967)

Via del Campo c’è una graziosa
gli occhi grandi color di foglia
tutta notte sta sulla soglia
vende a tutti la stessa rosa.

Via del Campo c’è una bambina
con le labbra color rugiada
gli occhi grigi come la strada
nascon fiori dove cammina.

Via del Campo c’è una puttana
gli occhi grandi color di foglia
se di amarla ti vien la voglia
basta prenderla per la mano.

E ti sembra di andar lontano
lei ti guarda con un sorriso
non credevi che il paradiso
fosse solo lì al primo piano.

Via del Campo ci va un illuso
a pregarla di maritare
a vederla salir le scale
fino a quando il balcone ha chiuso.

Ama e ridi se amor risponde
piangi forte se non ti sente.
Dai diamanti non nasce niente
dal letame nascono i fior
dai diamanti non nasce niente
dal letame nascono i fior.

 

 

Via del campo

Translated by: Fabio Romerio

On Via del Campo there’s a pretty woman
with big eyes, the color of leaves
she stands all night on her doorstep
and sells the same rose to everyone.

On Via del Campo there’s a young girl
her lips are the color of the morning dew
her eyes are gray like the street
and flowers blossom wherever she walks.

On Via del Campo there’s a whore
with big eyes, the color of the leaves
if you feel like making love to her
all you need to do is take her hand.

And you’ll feel like you’re flying away
she looks at you with a smile
you had no idea that paradise
was right there, just one floor up.

On Via del Campo a deluded man goes
to beg her to marry him
and watch her walk up the stairs
until she shuts the door of her balcony.

Love and laugh if love answers your call
cry loudly if it won’t listen.
Nothing grows from diamonds,
flowers grow from manure.
Nothing grows from diamonds,
flowers grow from manure.

By Francesco Ciabattoni (Georgetown University)

“Via del campo” (1967) offers a glimpse on one of Genoa’s most intense areas: the famous downtown street, with its filth and lust for life, becomes almost a synonym for the unnamed prostitute around whom the song revolves. De André describes her first as a pretty woman, then as a child, and finally as a whore, showing that all moral judgment is the eye of the beholder. If a man falls in love with her he must be a fool, but that’s how love works: we laugh when it answers our call but cry when it leaves us alone in the street. The setting, tone and protagonists are De André’s favorite: the dirty corners of his native port city, where real life happens to real people, far from the well-off neighborhoods of bourgeois Genoans (to which the songwriter was born). The music of this song is indebted to Enzo Jannacci’s “La mia morosa la va a la fonte” (1965), with lyrics by Dario Fo: the duo had performed it in their play Vengo anch’io no tu no!. One year later, songwriter Oscar Prudente reused the tune (which Jannacci claimed to have taken from a XVI century folk song) for his lullaby “Dormi dormi.” De André’s lyrics show a debt to Pridente’s lyrics too.

Dormi dormi (Oscar Prudente, 1966)
Dormi dormi che io ti canto
e verrà un sonno di rose e argento
non farci caso, è soltanto il vento
che urla e piange intorno a te.

Se chiudi gli occhi non ci badare
se tutto intorno senti gridare
le cose tristi non le guardare
che crescon fiori intorno a te.

Più gente crepa più crescon fiori
e più si brucia più han bei colori,
colori dolci ma senza odori
non li guardar cerca di dormir.
Colori dolci ma senza odori
non li guardar cerca di dormir.