Thursday, October 2, 2008

Come Dance in Puglia

We tend to show the pretty parts of our towns in our daily city blogs. Maybe because that's what we choose to see. There's enough unpleasant stuff around us anyway, why focus on it?

But, today I wanted to share a video by a Molfettan rapper who has become quite famous nationally. His stage name is Caparezza, which means Curlytop in the local dialect.

His music is rap/pop rock with a strong political slant. He tells it like it is and has even dedicated a song to our mayor, who is a story all in his own! In this video clip, called Come Dance in Puglia (the region Molfetta is located in), he denounces the problems being ignored in this region while emphasis is focused on trying to increase tourism. The song is sung to the rhythm of the "tarantella" which is a traditional music/dance of this region.
(The singer at the very beginning is Al Bano, a *very* famous Italian singer and also from Puglia.)

Vieni a Ballare in Puglia, by Caparezza (2008)
(my translation)

The dolphins go to dance on the beaches.
The elephants go to dance in unknown cemeteries.
The clouds go to dance on the horizon.
The trains go to dance in museums with an entrance fee.
And you, where do you go to dance?

Come dance in Puglia, Puglia, Puglia,
tremulous like a leaf, leaf, leaf.
Hold your head high when you walk past a crane,
because it might break and fall down.

Hey, tourist, I know you're staying in this Italic place.
Be careful, you cross the pass, but this land will send you to the madhouse.
Adriatic and Ionian Seas, you want to breathe the iodine,
but here in the gulf it stinks of sulphur, because the demon is coming.

Tanned with fear from the dioxin from ILVA (note: a steel producing company), here you'll get redder than Milva (note: a redheaded Italian singer) and then you'll look like Pimpa (note: an Italian cartoon dog covered with red spots). In the area they sell the best fatal infections: some have smoked poison at ENI (note: Italian National Energy company), those who have worked there have even gone into a coma. Even the Gargano smokes, with all those forests on fire. Tourist you dance and you sing, I count the deceased of this country, where those sly folks who build factories, no, they spare no expense; they think the Kyoto Protocol is an erotic Japanese film.

Come dance in Puglia, Puglia, Puglia
where the night is dark, dark,
so much so that you close your eyes and you don't reopen them.
Come dance and scratch your balls, too
You must dance in Puglia, Puglia, Puglia
tremulous like a leaf, leaf, leaf.
Hold your head high when you walk past a crane
because it might break and fall down.

It's true that it's a party here, but the people are depressed and run-down:
I have a friend who had to get a job in a factory to kill himself.
Between a pole falling down and a tube exploding,
in that bedlam those who work get bumped off;
and those who don't work buy drugs and make a name for themselves,
until they clutter up the tomb.
Come dance, buddy, in the tomato fields,
where the Mafia enslaves the workers, and if you rebel you're out.
Romenians crammed into cubbyholes like peeled tomatos in cans.
Forced to submit to the blackmail of big men, but big like confetti.
Tourist you keep your sandals on, don't cause a scandal if we are ungrateful
and have forgotten we are the children of emigrants.
Mortified, we won't ruin your trip.
Come on, come to Puglia, come to the better life.

Come dance in Puglia, Puglia, Puglia
where the night is dark, dark, dark,
so much so that you close your eyes and you don't reopen them.
Come dance and scratch your balls, too
You must dance in Puglia, Puglia
where waiting for you is the executioner, executioner, executioner.
On the streetcorners more swords than King Arthur,
the abyss opens and you go straight to Beezelbub.

Oh Puglia, my Puglia, my Puglia,
I always carry you in my heart when I go away.
And I immediately think that I could die without you.
And I immediately think that I could also die with you.
(The caption at the end of the video says: "No Puglians were mistreated during the making of this video.")


tr3nta said...

Your ahead 1 day today is still 1st october... :-)

Saretta said...

I know, Trenta! I programmed this post for tomorrow, but it came out already...I did something wrong!

Knoxville Girl said...

That's called serendipity - a feature, not a problem.
I think this is one of your best narrative posts. Thanks for explaining the cultural references. That last verse shows how much his heart is in this town. Every place has its problems (Knoxville got the attention of the New York Times for its dirty county politics), but it's a package deal. If you don't speak about the porblems, ther's no hope of a solution.
Good one, Saretta.

Knoxville Girl said...

uh, that's problems. need more coffee.

Historelli said...

I love Capareeza's album in dialect (Alla molfettesa manera) I've must have copied it a dozen times for the many "molfies" here in the US

He is comical yet insightful, a true sign of smarts. And Molfettese is the perfect language for rap! Does he ever come to the states?

LaGrasta said...

Wow, I don't know what to say. I want to say I liked it, but it seemed so comical and light compared to the rap most people listen to in the states. My favorite rapper is Sir Mix-A-Lot. He's "old school", I know. He has some serious stuff and even his light, playful stuff (I like big butts) is much more produced and hard core.
I don't listen to so much rap any more though, mostly standards like Dean Martin, Michael Bublé, and Reneé Olstead. Although a lot of Bjork and a lot of Rock-a-billy.
I'm very glad I got to hear it though as it's Molfettan!

USelaine said...

So interesting to hear poetry from the inside of a place. Thanks for the translation.

Saretta said...

Gosh, Knoxville Girl, you make me blush! ;-) Thanks for the supportive remarks. I agree with you that it's important take the bad with the good and to talk about it.

Historelli - I don't know if Caparezza ever makes it over to the States. I'll have to look on his site for you. I kind of doubt it since he only sings in Italian and Molfettese.

Lagrasta - often Italian rap is lighter than the US stuff. Take, for example, Giovanotti. You can hear more of Caparezza on Youtube. He has a variety of sounds.

Elaine - my pleasure!

nobu said...

Interesiting and pretty video!!
Thanks for dropping by my blog.

Gerald (SK14) said...

I didn't bother with the rap vid but your translation and notes tell the story admirably. Yes we must mirror all sides of our towns and cities.

Rob said...

Very talented musician! I find this interesting, we citizens suffer under our political leaders and uncaring business practices.

Jane Hards Photography said...

I absolutely agree with you. My blog header says it won't be all pretty sunsets, but what you see is what you get. We need to see all sides. We appreciate blogs more that are well rounded and show the good, bad, and ugly. Well done for this post.