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“Elisir” by Paolo Conte

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When my family was moving to Florence (which I talked about in my first post), we first flew from London Heathrow to Milan airport (I don’t know if it was Malpensa or Linate). We waited for our connecting flight in the departure lounge, which, as far as I remember, wasn’t all that busy. We were looking at the flight schedules, slightly puzzled, since we couldn’t see “Florence” coming up at all. Now, the next part is a bit hazy for me, but I think an American gentleman sitting nearby overheard us and explained that in fact we should be looking out for “Firenze”, which is the Italian name for Florence. Or perhaps it was my mother or father who explained it to the American.

Then again, perhaps there was no American at all. How scary would that be–memory does play tricks sometimes.

However, there is one memory that is undeniable. There was a TV screen playing commercials and music, and it was the first time that I had heard any kind of broadcast in Italian. One of the commercials often being repeated was one singing the praises of the newspaper “Il Giornale”. I’m sure there must have been other commercials and other songs, but the one that’s stuck right in my mind ever since was the one I’m writing about here today.

Now, at the time when I was listening to it, I obviously had no idea what the song was or who the artist was. This has often been an issue when trying to rediscover the music I heard when I was living in Italy. In this case, all I managed to remember were the fragmented lyrics “una musica, della musica…la la la la LAAAA la…la la la la LA…”

I tried searching for those words on the Internet, but with no result. I even repeated the lyrics to Italians I met but to no avail. Then, a couple of years ago, I happened to watch the film “Mickey Blue Eyes“, a romantic crime comedy (at least I assume it is) about a British auctioneer living in New York who falls in love with an Italian-American woman from a Mafia family. If you haven’t seen it, then do, it’s good fun. Anyway, imagine my complete surprise when, during a segment of the film, the mythical song came on and I heard this deep, husky voice singing those lyrics that I had known for years. A quick search on the Web found the soundtrack for the film, and it wasn’t long before I tracked down the song at last: “Elisir” by Paolo Conte. It’s the first song in his album The Best Of Paulo Conte, released in 1996.

I even recognised the artist from the video I’d seen at the airport. However, the lyrics weren’t “una musica, della musica”, but “una musica nella musica”. Funny the things that one (mis)remembers. Buon ascolto!

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