A number of readers have been asking Daniela for a translation of Il Volo’s appearance on “Carpool Karaoke,” with Jake La Furia. It aired on Italian TV in April 2017, and was posted on the Flight Crew page on June 1, 2017. This translation is yet another episode in the continuing saga of “Looking Back at Il Volo,” that Daniela started this year, to keep us entertained while we wait for the guys to return to world touring.
The Italian Carpool Karaoke is a goofy reality TV show where celebrities get in Jake La Furia’s yellow taxi and have an opportunity to be funny and spontaneous as La Furia drives them around Rome. Of course, i nostri ragazzi (our guys) are masters of the art of funny and spontaneous, as we all know.
Some parts of the episode do not need translation. You just have to watch the antics, and you’ll double over laughing. Ignazio, sempre lo spiritoso, (always the funny man), is especially delightful and in his element here. That must be why they sat him in the front passenger seat (after a fight, of course).
If you want, the link to follow along is:
I’ll start the translation from where La Furia picks up the guys somewhere along Il Lungotevere. You can tell they had pre-planned that when Jake picks them up to start the show, a certain two of them would start arguing like Sicilians.
Some of the early puns about their name don’t translate fully to English, but everything else is hilariously self-explanatory. Also, as Italians typically do, Jake and the guys often talk on top of each other, so you can’t hear every wisecrack.
So here we go!
Jake: (To himself as he pulls up). “Yes, I really know Rome.” Then he sees there are three passengers waiting on the curb waiting to get in.
Piero: “I’ll sit in the front.”
Igna: “No, I’m going to.”
Piero: “No, I’ll sit in the front.”
Lots of scuffling as they fight over the front door: “Let go” “Let me in” “Stop arguing.” “All of you get in, already.” “Stay the way you are.” (Igna in front).
Jake: “So, when I saw I was going to have an episode of the tenors with me in transit (al volo). . .”
Piero: “That’s the same joke they make in the airport Who do you have on this flight (on “il volo”)? (Il Volo)!.
Jake: “That’s enough. Those puns are terrible.”
Igna: (Still being punny): “Or, I’ll tell you something on the fly” (“al volo”).
Jake: So, tell me how things are going. What are you doing now?
Igna: We’re going around (touring) a little, after finishing an American tour.
Jake: How did it go?
Piero: It was awful, sad.
Igna: Yes. It was rather sad, because we had to go and find people to fill the empty taxis. (You can tell this is not going to be a serious interview).
Gian: “You know what was the best thing? The only way, really, to be international singers abroad is to sing in Italian. Because if we sing in English, there are so many original genres that. . .”
Jake: Interrupts by starting a line from a smart-alecky pop song, which the guys immediately pick up on: “Il Dottore Dice Che Sono Malato” (The Doctor Says I’m Mentally Ill). You’re supposed to sing this thing really fast and race to the end of the chorus.
Jake interrupts again: “OK, really loud, let’s go.”
All of them, Jake included, break into a chorus of “Grande Amore,” while Igna yells, “What are you looking at me for?”
After they finish, Jake: “Madonna!” (Holy mother!) Then yells out the window to a passing lady with her shopping bags: “Ma’am, we have Il Volo here!”
They all yell “Ciao! Ciao grande!” (A big hello).
Piero: “Hello, ma’am.”
Gian: Not “Ma’am”, Miss.” (meaning Piero should be polite, as if she were young).
Piero: “What do you mean, ‘Miss’? She was at least 70 years old! Miss? Really?”
Jake makes a crack about women over 40.
Piero: “In America, A lady came up with her daughter to take a picture. The daughter, who was very proud of her mom, told us, ‘My mother loves you; we have listened to you since you were kids. Over her dresser, there is a picture of my father, who’s dead; there’s a picture of my brother, who’s dead; and your picture…’ I asked her, please take our picture off the dresser!”
Then they break into “Volare” while Igna and Gian play air drums. Gian: “Let’s go samba!” (As you know, Il Volo’s arrangement of this on stage, especially Gianluca’s baritone bridge vocal, is with a very catchy samba beat). Gian again: “This is where the Brazilians start dancing.”
(As you watch, you’ll notice that it isn’t only on stage that Igna closes his eyes and takes off; he even does it in the car.) Then he snaps back and switches to air flute.
Also, check out Jake’s face when Piero launches into un coro forte (full volume chorus) right behind his head.
Jake: Do you want to try your hand at “Mixed Up Names.” Do you want to mix up some names? Guys: “No.” Jake: “We’ll have a little quiz.”
Gian: “No that depends on…wait…” Igna, Piero: “We might make a bad impression.”
Jake: What were the names of the three pigs?
Gian: “Eolo, Mammolo, Struggiolo” (roughly: “Huff, Puff, and Knock it down”)
Piero: “Uncle Ciccio, Uncle Carlo and Uncle . . .”
Igna: “No, they were called: (he makes three distinct pig grunts, one for each).” High five from Jake. Igna wins!
(I’m with Piero. I actually had an Uncle Ciccio).
Jake: Exactly! The three magi?
Piero: “Gold, frankincense, and myrrh.” Igna insists it’s “mirra” not “mirro,” for myrrh. (These of course were their gifts to the newborn Messiah. In Italian tradition their names are Melchior, Gasparo, e Baltazzaro. Jake should have asked me).
Jake: The three sailings ships? (There’s no need to clarify whose ships. This is Italy after all!).
Everybody: “Nina, Pinta, and Santa Maria.”
Jake: The three of Il Volo?
Each of the guys names themselves with their own name first.
The three thank you’s? (Which would be versions of “grazie”)
Gian: (making it all up): Grazie, Graziella (a girl’s name), and…” Piero kicks in “Gran’ Luigi!” (Big Louie)
Gian: “So who’s Big Louie?”
Now they break into “Ancora.” Igna’s on air trumpet and high harmony. He grimaces and holds his stomach for the high notes as he often does when they sing this spontaneously on TV. Piero is now hanging out of the car door. (Yes, the car is stopped). Igna is yelling to look back there at him. They are now making puns on the title “Ancora” which mean “More, More” or “Again, Again.”
In order to stage the scene for more foolishness, Jake says he needs to stop for a moment to step outside of the car for a bathroom break. Gian, straight-faced says, “Not right out here with all these people passing by.”
Jake tells them he has to leave them alone for a moment; they should behave themselves; and he’ll be right back.
Gian: “Of course we will.”
When he leaves, the madcap mayhem starts. Igna blasts the radio for slam dancing in the seats while they dig some props out of the glove box, and Gian is calling the name of the American female pop singer whose song it is, while yelling “We’re waiting for you to come to Italy.” The car isn’t big enough for Piero’s dance. Have a look while the guys do the “circus clowns in the miniature car” routine, climbing over each other, changing seats, blowing penny whistles and clown horns, then rushing back to normal with straight faces, before La Furia gets back in.
Jake (climbing in): Everything OK?
Gian: Everything’s fine.
Jake: Did you behave yourselves?
Gian: We were just talking about work.
(Watch Igna when he realizes what he still has in his hand when Jake is belting himself in.)
Jake then asks them each to sing a stadium chant for their favorite team, but he wants them to use music not from the stadium. He asks Ignazio to show his favorite football team. Ignazio takes out a team scarf of his favorite club, Juventus.
Jake: Tell me the first song that comes to mind when you think of “Juve” (Juventus). Igna breaks into a Juventus Ale, Ale chant which he sings to the martial piece from the opera “Aida”.
Gian sings about team Roma to the melody of “Libiamo Ne’ Lieti Calici” from “La Traviata”, while yanking out the Roma red scarf (I have the same one at home). Then he cheers for the “Great Francesco” because he’s a fan of Francesco Totti (Numero 10). Then it’s Piero’s turn and Gian rolls his eyes while Piero hold up a San Siro stadium (Milano) scarf and sings his soccer fight song, at full volume again, to the well-known martial air from Bizet’s “Carmen.”
When they all start repeating “è la Carmene” (that’s from Carmen), Igna teases Jake for his pronunciation “è la carne?” (it’s the meat?).
The Jake turns on background music and they break into “Libiamo Ne’ Lieti Calici”.
Jake: So, guys, you have a great repertoire of [Italian] music of the 1960’s. What is your relationship with this kind of music?
Piero: “That’s the history of ‘light’ Italian music . . .” (Then Igna interrupts again)
Jake then teases: “I want you to hear what Piero does. First, he raises a raise a real ruckus (“Casino della Madonna”), then when the actual interview starts . . .” (Jake swipes his hand over his face and mimics Piero switching immediately to straight faced and serious about the music). Then Gian also mimics Piero’s serious voice and face: “This is the story of Italian music…” Then he tells Jake, “Go on, cut it out.”
Gian: “Anyway, Jake, the original project was of these three child prodigies with these unique voices who sang “O Sole Mio”, “Il Mondo”, and then we got somewhat trained in this style and that’s the way we came to be called “I Tre Tenorini” (the Three Little Tenors). Then we grew up and matured, and we became . . .
Jake interrupts “I Tre Tenoroni” (The Three Big Tenors).
They all start singing “Il Mondo” while grabbing and tickling Jake from the back seat.
Igna: “They’re doing that because you’re so soft.”
They guys are now playing around with some of the Il Mondo lyrics.
Igna: “You know that this song had no harmonies in it. When we sing it, we have our particular way with it. Now we’ll let you hear a harmony a capella.”
Even Jake is impressed at the spontaneous a capella 3-part arrangement and rephrasing.
Jake: “So there’s this issue that people call you the ‘young old people’, ‘young people who make music for old people,’ and they have beaten on you for that.” (Actually, he said an Italian invective, but I won’t translate it). “This is what I think. I want you do something that makes you seem very, very young.”
Note how the guys suddenly all switch to ghetto style rapper clothes, dark glasses, ball caps on backwards, bling hanging from their necks. They break into an Italian punk rock hit, complete with head-shaking slam dance, while Piero is complaining: “This is making my head spin.”
Igna starts ad-libbing rap with “elegant” lyrics of the caliber of: “My name is Boschetto, I eat rubber (gometto), I still wet my bed (letto).” (It all rhymes in Italian rap rhythm, and it goes on and gets worse).
Jake: “So, you’re back from your American tour. What happened?”
Piero: “We carried Italian culture there.”
Jake: “And tell me about the next dates.”
Gian (checking his cell phone calendar): “Three concerts in the Teatro Antico of Taormina, Naples, Palmanova, Piazzola sul Brenta, and Pula.”
Piero: And in Sicily we are doing our fourth date at the Teatro Antica di Siracusa. This will be our first time there. (An amazing place like the one in Taormina. 400 BC and still great for concerts. They really knew how to build them back then.)
Gian described these theaters as “these most beautiful structures, that we only have in our country.”
Jake checks with Igna on this.
Igna: “Yes, I confirm all of it.”
Next, they all sing “Mamma.”
Jake: “Guys, being with you has been a real bomb.” (Same as American slang) But I have to get to work.
Igna: “We brought you something.” (Gives him a copy of the Notte Magica CD).
Jake: “Thank you.”
Igna: “So, are you going to sell it on ebay or keep it?”
Jake: “No, I’m going to keep it myself.”
Gian: “Now, let’s go settle up.”
Jake: “Good luck on your tours.”
Here they make their goodbyes.
And of course, there’s the inevitable “selfie”, with Jake. Il Volo are the undisputed masters of the art of “Selfie-ing.” After all, they even did one this year with Il Papa Francesco. Clearly, even he was having fun with them.
Credit to owners of all photos and video.