Here We Live…off Air

My personal translation of an old song by Calabrian singer-songwriter Otello Profazio, whose sad sarcasm perfectly describes much of the under-developed conditions of Southern Italy and Sicily. I was born more or less here.

 

The Italian South is an area very beautiful,
The sun is warm and it never gets any cold,
The sea is sprarkling and blue-green
Here you never see any pollution
We are happy people, we’re super-happy
We never need really any thing ..
Here we live off air .. -Here we live off air!

The Italian South is truly a paradise
If you really want to die you have to get killed
Oh peoples believe me when I say
Here we do not know what illness is ..
And I do not understand what is the reason
They build a hospital in all our cities
It’s all useless! ..
Here nobody ever dies ..
Even the cemeteries don’t exist here!

The Italian South’ climate is amazing
Physiological needs: there are none at all
It is in the North that people drink and eat
And so they need free up their bellies
Oh peoples believe me when I say
We in the South do not feel this need
Here we live off air .. -Here we live off air!
Here we live off air, right?

And what’s going through the rulers’ head?
They want industrialize through us all
Why can’t they mind their business -what need
Could the South have for any industry?
Because what need is there to work
With sky, moon and sea like ours?
Here we live off air .. – Here we live off air, right?

And what’s going through the rulers’ head?
They even want to build us schools
Don’t they know that here in the South
We are all people of sciences and of letters?
Schools are made for those who are ignorant
Not for us that we are intralligent

But you say: if there you live of air
All this emicration, how does one explain it?
One can explain, one can explain!
Because we really like to travel
To know other peoples, other countries:
America, Australia, France,
Germany, Switzerland, Belgium …
And even Italy! Why, do you think Milan is bad?
And Turin, is there anything missing from Turin?
“Ye were not form’d to live the life of brutes,
‘But virtue to pursue and knowledge high.’”
The emicration … One can explain, one can explain!! For sure!

They tell me that in the North the nights are dark,
Them full of fog and them all full of fears
But here it’s always a day so clear
So why would we any electricity really need?
Why did they put up all these streetlights
If there is the moon that can brighten us?
It’s all useless! ..
Here we see very well even at night ..
We’ve got such a moon!
Our moon mood swings start from the morning!

And you have built us super-motorways
Long and wide and forty thousand meters
But why did you have to get them paved?
For we now can’t plant there potatoes!
But not for us,
Because we do not need to eat
But to send them potatoes to the North!
Because we do not need anything
Because here we live off air
Here we live off air

We do not need anything
Never mind do not worry
Nothing needs be done!
Here we live off air, off air, right?
What now, do I need to convince you with a beating
That here we live off air, we live off air, right?
Forget it … you do not have to get upset …
Do not worry! Here we live off air
We live off air! We live off air! No? Didn’t you know?