Napule è
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  • Pino Daniele
  • Napule è
  • Released in: 1977

Entirely sung in Neapolitan, this track refers in a poetic way to some aspects of Naples, both positive and negative.

Review posted: 01/04/2014

Napule è” is a well-known song by famous Neapolitan songwriter Pino Daniele, written in 1977 for the LP Terra Mia and dedicated to the Parthenopean city. It is entirely sung in Neapolitan and refers in a poetic way to some aspects of Naples, both positive and negative.

"A well-known song dedicated to the Parthenopean city"

As the lyrics read, “Napule” has “mille culure” (one thousand colors), referring to the polyhedral splendor of the city. Yet it also has “mille paure” (one thousand fears). The “-e” in “paure” is a “schwa” or non-vocal, a typical feature of almost all southern Italian languages. Neapolitan has many musical features and the language renders the song even more melodic and evocative. Naples has “nu sole amaro” (a bitter sun) and the “addore e mare” (scent of the sea). Also, “Napule a voce de criature che sal chianu chianu e tu sai che non si sule” (Naples is the voice of its children emerging slowly from the streets so you know you're never alone). “Criature” literally means “creatures” but is used to say “children,” while “chianu chianu” means, in standard Italian, “piano piano” (very slowly). In Neapolitan, you can duplicate some adjectives to reinforce their meaning. For example, “sule sule” literally means “lonely lonely,” and is used to emphasize the fact that a person is truly by him or herself. It is quite different from “sule” used only once – as in the phrase above – because then it simply means “lonely.” A question of nuance!

All the lines in the lyrics evidence different problems in the city. “Napule è 'na carta sporca / e nisciuno se ne importa e ognuno aspetta a' ciorta” (Naples dirty papers on the streets and no one cares, and everyone waits for fate). On the one hand, Neapolitans fail to solve problems that they themselves contribute in generating, but on the other, “Napule è tutto 'nu suonno e 'a sape tutti o' munno ma nun sanno a verità” (Napoli is a dream, and all the world knows it, but no one knows the truth about it). This recalls the famous proverb: “Vedi Napoli e poi muori.” Naples is so beautiful that it can also be the last thing you see. Without a doubt, this is the most representative song by Pino Daniele. It lifted the author to the top ranks of Italian singers, and it has been covered by some of the most important Italian performers, like Gino Paoli and Mina, since its release in the late 70s.



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