Saturday, December 31, 2011

Song #69 of 9999 - Scalinatella by Mike Patton

Song #69 of 9999

Title: Scalinatella
Artist: Mike Patton
Year: 2010
: Mondo Cane


Okay, it's New Year's Eve so maybe no-one will be paying attention, but I must still post! Yesterday's Italian song by Quartetto Cetra got some nice positive attention so I thought I follow up with a recording that came out 65 years later but comes from the same tradition. 

Mike Patton is, most famously, the lead singer of the funk-metal band Faith No More. But his career has taken him to some unusual places for a rock singer, including collaborations with avant garde composer John Cage (oops, I meant Zorn, not Cage), voiceover work for video games, and singing in an "operatic piece" in Bologna, Italy. While living in Italy, Patton became fluent in Italian and, around 2007, began working with a 30-piece orchestra performing Italian songs from the 50s and 60s.

"Scalinatella" (the "little staircase"), written in 1951 by Roberto Murolo, is sung in a Neapolitan dialect and tells the story of a love lost to another man, the protagonist imploring the staircase:

Scalinatèlla                                      narrow stairs
saglie ‘ncielo                                    go up to heaven
o scinne a mare                               or go down to the bottom of the sea
cercammélla                                    look for her
trovammélla,                                    find her,
pòrtame a chella                              bring her to me
sciaguratèlla!                                   that foolish little girl!

By all accounts I've read, Patton nailed the dialect, apparently no easy feat for a non-native Italian speaker. This typifies the kind of dedication he pours into his work and why he is so revered as an artist.

By the way, I usually only post studio recordings, but this live recording from a concert in Amsterdam may actually be better than the original recording so I thought I'd make an exception.

1 comment:

  1. heh, i did a song from mondo cane a little over a month ago (il cielo in una stanza). i think in general his pronunciation is really good on these songs.