Mal d'Africa / African reverie

Dopo pranzo si andava a riposare
cullati dalle zanzariere e dai rumori di cucina;
dalle finestre un po' socchiuse spiragli contro il soffitto,
e qualche cosa di astratto si impossessava di me.
Sentivo parlare piano per non disturbare,
ed era come un mal d'Africa, mal d'Africa.

After lunch, we would lie down to rest,
cradled by mosquito nets and noises from the kitchen;
from the window - slightly open - traces of light on the ceiling
and always an abstract feeling overcame me.
I could here people speaking softly, so it would not disturb,
And it was like an African reverie.

Saturday night I'm a dreamer,
I can't live without you
on my own, lies a photograph,
please come back and stand by me.

(same as in the original)

Con le sedie seduti per la strada,
pantaloncini e canottiere, col caldo che faceva.
Da una finestra di ringhiera mio padre si pettinava;
I'odore di brillantina si impossessava di me.
Piacere di stare insieme solo per criticare
ed era come un mal d'Africa, mal d'Africa.

Sitting in the middle of the road on our chairs,
Shorts and top tanks, in the heat.
I could see my father combing his hair through a window
and always the smell of hair grease overcame me.
Pleasure of being together just to criticize each other
And it was like an African reverie.

By Italian Songwriter/Performer Franco Battiato
From the record Orizzonti Perduti (Lost Horizons)

"Mal d'Africa" literally means African sickness in italian; sickness, however has here the same meaning as in homesick: nostalgy or reverie. It was said that the desire of going back to Africa was akin to a sickness for people that had lived there for some time.I traslated as African Reverie for lack of better knowledge, 'African Sickness' did not sound right... suggestions are welcome

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