[Monday Notes no.166] Napule è is part of Pino Daniele’s first album Terra mia, released in 1977. The Neapolitan composer was inspired by the blues and jazz repertoire but did not deny his origins, which he proudly claimed by singing in Neapolitan dialect. It is therefore not surprising that Pino Daniele dedicated the first track of his first album to his city.
Napule è is a song with a pure strophic form, which is uncommon in the Italian repertoire. The verse has a duration of 8 measures, which becomes 11 for the coda of three measures, on which the singer improvises.
The piece is in the key of D major, the chords are all derived from the scale with the sole exception of the F#7 chord, a passing chord leading to the 6th degree, Bm. The introduction of the song, as well as the measures that conclude each verse, are based on the chords of the I and IV degree (plagal cadence). Here is the harmonic analysis of the song.
The lyrics of the song are very intense and sour, just three verses in which Pino Daniele celebrates the beauty of the city but also its contradictions and sufferings. The text is again repeated with the response of the choir.
Starting with this first album, Pino Daniele’s success was as rapid as it was deserved. A key step was the composition of the music for the film Ricomincio da tre, directed by Massimo Troisi, another great exponent of modern Neapolitan culture.
Until next Monday!