VITTI NA CROZZA Michelangelo Verso 1st original historical and record version
Historical recording on disk CETRA 1951
(first recording of Vitti 'na crozza)
with the Quartet Francesco Li Causi, on guitar Totò Li Causi,
sings Michele Verso
'Vitti' na crozza 'was recorded for the first time on 78 rpm Cetra discs in 1951 by the tenor Michelangelo Verso, with considerable success. The author of the melody is Franco Li Causi, who composed it for the film by Pietro Germi, 'The journey of hope', in 1950. The original version sung by Michelangelo Verso, does not contain the refrain 'lalalalero lalero lallalà', added only later by other singers.
In 1950 Pietro Germi went to Sicily to start shooting the film 'The path of hope'. In Agrigento he met Maestro Franco Li Causi whom he asked to compose 'a cheerful-tragic-sentimental motif' to be included in the film. None of the Maestro's proposals satisfied the director, until in Favara (while filming was taking place) a miner, Giuseppe Cibardo Bisaccia, recited a popular poem to Germi, which begins like this: 'Vitti' na crozza supra nu cannoni, fui curiusu and there vosi spyri, idda m'arrispunniu cu gran duluri, muriri without touching of bells. '
Germi, fascinated by the verses, asks Li Causi to set them to music. The song entered by right in the soundtrack of the film so as to be known in a short time throughout Italy. The song will be known, not the author of the music, not mentioned either on the movie poster or in the opening or closing credits: the author of the music, of all the music, is Carlo Rustichelli, famous author of soundtracks. Only in 1979 the SIAE (Italian Society of Authors and Publishers) recognized the paternity of music to Maestro Li Causi.
Thanks to the film and the Cetra disc made by Li Causi to record the tenor Michelangelo Verso, this Sicilian 'hymn' achieved international diffusion.
A recent interview with me about this song you can read at the following link: http://pensierimeridionali.blogspot.com/2013/07/unintervista-con-michelangelo-verso-jr.html
Translation of the text into Italian:
I saw a skull
I saw a skull on top of a cannon
I was curious and wanted to ask him
he replied with great pain
die without the tolling of bells.
Gone were my years
they went away and I don't know where
now that they are eighty
the living call and the dead do not answer.
Make me make this bed again
for by worms I have devoured everything
if I do not redeem my sin here
I'll pay him in the next life with broken blood.
He replied with great pain
die without the tolling of bells!
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