Saturday, July 10th, 2010

The song that so many of us know as “Volare” (to fly) is really entitled “Nel blu dipinto di blu” (In the blue, painted blue). We’ve all heard it and probably by different singers or groups with the lyrics or just as an instrumental. If you’ve always liked it you are certainly not alone. It must be one of the most recorded songs ever. Wikipedia lists 108, count ’em, 108 different recordings of the song from David Bowie (?!) and Ella Fitzgerald to Vanilla Mood – a Japanese girl band (now that’s a trip). The song has been translated to numerous languages including Russian and Finish. It won the “Song of the Year” award at the first Grammy Awards in 1958 – the only foreign language song to achieve such recognition.

The original was written and performed by Domenico Modugno first in 1958 to immediate success, selling over 22 million copies. I had thought Domenico to be a one hit wonder but that is definitely not the case. He had subsequent songs that won three times at the San Remo music festival in Italy. In addition he acted in 44 movies and was elected to the Italian Parliament later in life. Quite a guy.  The lyrics are fascination. They are shown here just for the first part of the song.

Nel blu dipinto di blu (Volare)

Blue painted in the blue (Flying)

Penso che un sogno così non ritorni mai più I think such a dream will never come back
Mi dipingevo le mani e la faccia di blu I painted my hands and my face blue
Poi d’improvviso venivo dal vento rapito Then suddenly I was ravished by the wind
E incominciavo a volare nel cielo infinito And I started flying in the infinite sky

Volare, oh oh… Flying, oh oh…
Cantare, ohohoho… Singing, ohohoho…
Nel blu dipinto di blu Blue painted in the blue
Felice di stare lassù Happy to be up there

Painting hands and face blue! So is that how the Blue Man Group came up with the idea?

Click on the title below to listen to Domenico singing his greatest hit.


2 Responses to “Volare”

  1. Craig Sutphin Says:

    Hi Joe:
    I sent you an email last night that was kicked back for some reason. We listened to the Volare song. BEautiful. Anyway, here’s the email I sent you.

    Hi Joe,

    Nice talking to you yesterday. I reread that article on Friendship in the
    NY times and still think it’s pretty damn good. I’m actually going to use
    it this next year as part of my philosophy class. Anyway, take a look at
    some of the other Stone articles too. They are a pretty cool and manageable
    way into philosophical discourse.


    We are leaving to Mendocino on Wednesday for about 10 days and will be out
    of contact, but let’s talk when I get back about more food stuff. I’m on my
    way to check our your blog.

    Peace, Craig

  2. admin Says:

    Thanks Craig. I’m glad you like Volare. I like it a lot too. It’s interesting that when doing a blog like this I just keep bumping against interesting things. Wait until I start on my books about Italy and Italians and my cookbook shelf as well. Thanks for the link to the NY Times article.


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