“You don’t get to choose how you’re going to die. Or when. You can only decide how you’re going to live. Now” (1)
[Joan Baez, American musician, and activist, born on 9 January 1941]
On 30 March 2020 the American singer-songwriter broadcast a video in which she sang an Italian song to celebrate Italy’s positive musical response to the coronavirus, when balcony singing in solidarity was spreading across the country during the first lockdown.
Speaking in Italian, she said “I’ll sing this for you” after saying that Italy had been “a source of inspiration for the world” with its balcony singalongs. ( “Vedere gli italiani cantare dai balconi è stata una forte fonte di ispirazione per tutto il mondo”)
She sang “Un Mondo d’Amore” (“A World of Love”), a 1967 song by Gianni Morandi, considered a classic and a hymn to love and brotherhood/sisterhood, and now an offering of strength and courage.
The song has been covered by several artists, including Joan Baez who, in 1970, sang it in Italian for the first time.
C’è un grande prato verde dove nascono speranze
Che si chiamano ragazzi, quello è il grande prato dell’amore
Uno: non tradirli mai, han fede in te
Due: non li deludere, credono in te
Tre: non farli piangere, vivono in te
Quattro: non li abbandonare, ti mancheranno
Quando avrai le mani stanche e tutto lascerai
quelle cose belle ti ringrazieranno, soffriranno per gli errori tuoi
E tu ragazzo non lo sai, ma nei tuoi occhi c’è già lei
Ti chiederà l’amore, ma l’amore ha i suoi comandamenti
Uno: non tradirla mai, ha fede in te
Due: non la deludere, lei crede in te
Tre: non farla piangere, vive per te
Quattro: non l’abbandonare, ti mancherà
E la sera cercherà fra le braccia tue
Tutte le promesse, tutte le speranze, per un mondo d’amore (2)
(1) “Non puoi scegliere come morire. O quando. Puoi solo decidere come vivere. Adesso.”
(2) A World of Love
There is a wide green lawn
where hopes are born
which are called young people
that’s the great lawn of love.
One, never betray them, they have faith in you
Two, don’t let them down, they believe in you
Three, don’t make them cry, they live inside you
Four, don’t abandon them, you’ll miss them
When your hands are tired and you’ll leave everything
those beautiful things will thank you,
or they’ll suffer for your mistakes.
And you, boy, you don’t know
but she’s already in your eyes
she will ask you for love
but love has its commandments.
One, never betray her, she has faith in you
Two, don’t let her down, she believes in you
Three, don’t make her cry, she lives for you
Four, don’t abandon her, you’ll miss her
And at night within your arms she’ll search
for all the promises, all the hopes
for a world of love.