On page 51 of “Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman” the American theoretical physicist tells of the time he accompanied his sister to a father-daughter banquet in replacement of his father who was busy.
At the end of the evening, Feynman delights those present with one of his creations.
He pretends to speak Italian, imitates the accent, the intonation, the pauses while he declaims: “A Tuzzo Lanto – poici di pare”
The audience is captivated, enchanted.
This story made me think of a song by Adriano Celentano: “Prisencolinensinainciusol”.
The song is intended to sound to its Italian audience as if it is sung in English spoken with an American accent.
Celentano’s intention with the song was not to create a humorous novelty song but to explore communication barriers.
Celentano performed the song at least twice on Italian television.
The two performances are of course available on youtube.
I have a conflicting and problematic relationship with the music of my country.
Every time I have to mention my favorite Italian artists, I’m in trouble.
In one of the brainstorming sessions that followed the release of a compilation, one of the proposals was to create a collection of covers of Italian songs.
The project is going through a stalemate, but Feynman and the repeated listening to “Prisencolinensinainciusol” whom I warn you will hardly be able to get out of your head, gave me an idea.
Not a collection of covers of Italian songs, the thought that some of you could send me a cover of Toto Cutugno or Albano and Romina Power makes me shudder, but a collection of songs that want to sound Italian.
Wio, who prompted me to read “Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman” could set Feynman’s poetry to music.
Caleb Fraid could sing the text of that superstitious ritual that he sent me once, in order to translate it, that belonged to a relative of the husband of his cousin Scarlett, written in an incomprehensible language, halfway between English, the Italian and the Guardialombardi dialect of which the lady was originally from.
It would be nice to finally pay homage to my country with original songs that can permanently break the language barriers that separate us, ol rait.