I did a post about this on another blog a while back (no link, as I’m closing it up soon). The video I posted then was a compilation of two different performances of the same song. Now, I’m happy to report, I’ve found separate videos of each, embedded below.
The singer/songwriter is Adriano Celentano. From what I’m able to glean, he seems to be an Italian version of a cross between Leonard Cohen and Steve Martin. (Open to corrections from any of my Italian readers who know better – please comment!)
The song’s title, “Prisencolinensinainciusol”, is a nonsense phrase, as are all the lyrics. I understand the intent is to imitate the sound of American pop singers, perhaps Elvis Presley, whom Celentano admires. A number of YouTube posts have posted comic translations, some funnier than others.
But back to the original. Here’s Celentano lip-syncing with energetic lead dancer Raffaella Carrà and a very large dance ensemble in a very large set:
And here’s a later performance on some Italian variety show, with the premise of a language class as a preamble. (Unfortunately, the clip cuts off at the end. There may be a more complete version out there, but no luck finding it.)
There’s one other performance with a much longer “schoolroom sketch” setup that appears to have an all-star Italian cast. Not knowing who the celebs are, and being unable to understand little of the humour, it’s not as interesting for me. (Italian speakers/pop culture experts welcome to elucidate in the comments!)
There was a burst of interest in this song back when I did the original post. I found it via Neatorama but it was posted and reposted on a number of other sites. The spike in attention did not go unnoticed by the Italian media – in fact, it sounds like they called up Celentano himself to comment! (Again, if anyone can translate…)
Why go to all this trouble? I don’t know. I guess I got a little obsessed with it. The song is extremely catchy, and I found it drifting in and out of my waking thoughts for days after I’d viewed it. Proves that you don’t necessarily have to understand something in order to enjoy it. Which I do, immensely.