February 15, 2017

Marco Mengoni: Ti ho voluto bene veramente

I'm back (quite soon) with my Italian Culture series and this time I've picked a more recent artist.

Marco Mengoni is a singer/songwriter. He was born in 1988 and in 2009 he won the third edition of X Factor Italia. Since then his popularity increased and he managed to keep it up without fading. In my personal opinion he is the only X Factor winner that truly managed to detach himself from the talent show and become an independent artist. Most X Factor Italia winners only last about a year and then get replaced, their fame fades, while Mengoni has been around for seven years without disappearing. During the past years he also managed to improve his songwriting skills, though not all of his songs are written by himself.

The song that I chose to present here is my personal favourite between all of his singles. I have never listened to his full albums so I don't know all of his music, but I've heard all of his singles and I've seen the videos and this song is the one that really spoke to me when I heard it, so much that some days I actually put it on replay.

Marco Mengoni - Ti ho voluto bene veramente (video screenshot, picture not mine)

I've decided to personally translate the lyrics and write them down here, so you can listen to the song and have an idea of what he's saying. The song is called Ti ho voluto bene veramente, which I roughly translated to "I really loved you". In Italian though there are two kinds of "I love you", there's "ti amo" that is very well known around the world and is usually said by couples, husbands and wives, people who are in love with each other. Then there is "ti voglio bene" - the one used by Mengoni in this song - that has a more general meaning and is used between relatives, friends, siblings, or partners that are not ready to say "ti amo" yet. It's a way to say that you really care about the other person and I personally only use it with people I really, really care about, but many other Italians use it more freely, almost as a form of salutation. 

I said enough for now. Open YouTube, search for Ti ho voluto bene veramente, close your eyes and listen. Or watch the video. Or read the lyrics. Whatever you like best. Three, two, one... Play.

So I set off on a long journey,
Far from all the mistakes that I've made.
I visited places so I could avoid seeing you
And the farther I went, the better I felt.
It was snowing heavily but I kept walking,
Sometimes I lit a fire in the cold and I thought of you.
Daydreaming on the deck of a ferry,
I thought I could see your reflection in the sea. 
The lights in the harbour seemed so far away
And I felt happy when we landed.
And my face was changing, my beard was growing.
I spent entire days without saying a word. 
And you can't imagine how much I wanted to be with you. 
Because I really love you
And there is no place in the world where you don't come to my mind.
I really wanted to have you
And I didn't want to hear
That I couldn't do much about it.
I would have found many more answers
If I had asked you,
But it doesn't matter.
I cannot do that now because you're too far away. 
I feel I need to tell you that travelling changes you as a person,
And the starting point now seems so distant.
The destination is not a place, it's a feeling
And we don't know where or when we'll reach it. 
I spent entire days without saying a word,
I thought you were really far away.
Wish I only knew before I left
That the meaning of a journey is the destination, the calling. 
Because I really love you
And there is no place in the world where you do not come to my mind.
I really wanted to have you
And I didn't want to hear
That I couldn't do much about it.
I would have found many more answers
If I had asked you,
But it doesn't matter.
I cannot do that now because you're too far away.
I cannot do that now.

I tried to translate the lyrics as faithfully as possible but I am aware that they are not perfect, and other Italians might argue that for them the lyrics maybe meant something different. I'm fine with that, just let me know what you'd change and we can talk about it. In my head I have a personal vision of the meaning of this song but I don't want to influence anyone so I'm not going to write it there. You can let me know yours in the comments if you like.

Don't forget to let me know if you liked this song and if you'd like any other song recommendation or translation.

Marti xx

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