In the 1960s it was a thing to listen Italian music in languges other than Italian. Singer Peppino Di Capri tried his luck with the Turkish language

If you grew up in Italy, there was invariably a moment when you discovered that other countries of the world were listening to the same horrible pop songs that many of your friends adored, and you, the naggy outcast, found unbearable if music at all. (I am afraid my opinion on the matter did not change substantially).

An article on Turkish newspaper Milliyet announces the release of a Turkish language rendition of Peppino di Capri's Melancolie

There was a somewhat vague notion of “huge markets in Latin America,” extremely welcoming to some of our homemade crap, which made translating Italian songs into, say, Spanish certainly worth the effort. And yet, it was nothing compared to the ’60s craze for Italian music that convinced once very popular singer Peppino Di Capri – and not him alone – to try his luck with the Turkish language. It wasn’t a rushed decision: his music was indeed famous abroad, and Turkey was no exception. One of his songs, Roberta, would also figure prominently in Kar (Snow), a novel Nobel Prize winner Orhan Pamuk published in 2002. “When I was young – the author once said – he was very much popular among us, sad youngsters of Turkey’s middle class.”

According to an article published on popular newspaper Milliyet back then (and to Discogs), Di Capri recorded the new version of his song at the Grafson label. As per the words, they were translated by Sezen Cumhur Önal.1“Peppino Melancolie’yi Plağa Türkçe Okudu,” Milliyet, September 5, 1965. The result, published in 1965, was Melankoli, Ne Güzelsin (Melancholy, how beautiful you are), a rendition of the already famous Melancolie.

Not a huge surprise, if we think about it: in the same years, when translating foreign songs into local languages was still very much a thing, Cumhur Önal provided lyrics for more than one aranjman (cover, basically) of other Italian internationally known artists. Di Capri, sure. But also for Luigi Tenco, Nicola Di Bari, and for a handful of songs by Mina, which were rendered into Turkish for the local, eager public (the number of her songs that exist in Turkish would require a separate chapter altogether).


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