Rummaging through the archives I finally found what I’ve been looking for! In May 2017, Italy aired a new show, Carpool Karaoke, and guess who the first guests were. Il Volo! Some of you have seen this video before and you know it’s hilarious! For all the new fans, you’re in for a treat!
On October 13, 2020, Giovanna wrote a story for Flight Crew called “A Taxi Takes: Carpool Karaoke.” The translation I use in my story is hers.
Let me begin by giving you some background about the show. The host is Jake La Furia. He’s like the host of our Carpool Karaoke, James Corden.
Like our show the Italian Carpool Karaoke is a goofy reality 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. The guests were perfect because they are masters of the art of funny and spontaneous.
There are parts of the show that need no translation. And parts that were left out because translating them wouldn’t add anything to the video. As you watch the antics, you’ll double over laughing. Ignazio, always the funny man, is especially delightful and in his element here. That must be why they sat him in the front passenger seat.
I’ll start the translation from where La Furia picks up the guys somewhere along Lungotevere. (Along the Tiber) You can tell they had pre-planned that when Jake picked them up the two Sicilians would be arguing! Every car ride needs a good argument!
Some puns about their name, Il Volo, don’t translate well into English like “the fly” (al volo) or the “the flight” (Il Volo), but you’ll get the gist of it. Everything else is hilarious and self-explanatory. Also, as Italians typically do, Jake and the guys all talk at the same time so you can’t hear every wise remark. Just the actions and the crazy conversation is enough to make this an absolutely wonderful video!
My suggestion is to read the translation and then watch the video. Don’t worry too much about what fits where. It really doesn’t matter. It’s lots of fun.
Let’s begin Carpool Karaoke, with Jake the driver!
Jake: (To himself as he pulls up). “Yes, I really know Rome.”
Jake notices the three guys waiting on the curb waiting to get in.
Piero: I’ll sit in the front.
Ignazio: No, I’m going to.
Piero: No, I’ll sit in the front.
Lots of scuffling as they fight over the front door: “Lets go” “Let me in” “Stop arguing.”
Jake: All of you get in, already. Stay the way you are.
Jake: I’m happy to have you here the tenors of the episode. I’ll tell you something on “the fly.” (al volo).
Piero: That’s the same joke they make in the airport. Who do you have on “the flight.” (Il Volo)!.
Jake: That’s enough. Those puns are terrible.
Ignazio: (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?
Ignazio: We’re shooting a bit. We’ve just finished the American tour.
Jake: How did it go?
Piero: It was awful, sad.
Ignazio: 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).
Gianluca: But, you know what was the beautiful thing. The only way, truly, 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 (that we all know), 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 Ignazio yells, “What are you looking at me for?”
After they finish singing….
Jake: Madonna! (Holy mother!) Jake yells out the window to a passing lady who is carrying her shopping bags: “Ma’am, we have Il Volo here!”
They all yell “Ciao! Ciao grande!” (A big hello).
Piero: Hello, ma’am.”
Gianluca: 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 to me 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 Ignazio and Gianluca play air drums.
Gianluca: Let’s go samba! (As you know, Il Volo’s arrangement of Volare on stage has a very catchy samba beat).
Gianluca continues: This is where the Brazilians start dancing.
(As you watch, you’ll notice that it isn’t only on stage that Ignazio 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?
Jake: We’ll have a little quiz.
Gianluca: No that depends on…wait…
Ignazio and Piero: We might make a bad impression.
Jake: What were the names of the three pigs?
Gianluca: Eolo, Mammolo, Struggiolo (roughly: Huff, Puff, and Knock it down)
Piero: Uncle Ciccio, Uncle Carlo and Uncle….
Ignazio: No, they were called: (he makes three distinct pig grunts, one for each).
Jake gives him a high five. Ignazio wins!
Jake: Exactly! The three magi?
Piero: Gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
Ignazio 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, Gaspar, and Balthazar).
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 calls out his name.
The three thank you’s? (Which would be various versions of “grazie”)
Gianluca: (making it all up): Grazie, Graziella (a girl’s name), and…
Piero kicks in “Gran’ Luigi! (Big Louie)
Gianluca:So, who’s Big Louie?
Now they break into “Ancora.” Ignazio’s on air trumpet and high harmony.
Piero is now hanging out of the car door. (Yes, the car is stopped).
Ignazio 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. Gianluca, 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 to pee! They should behave themselves; and he’ll be right back.
Gianluca: Of course, we will.
When he leaves, the madcap mayhem starts. Ignazio blasts the radio for slam dancing in the seats while they dig some props out of the glove box, and Gianluca 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. The guys act like 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?
Gianluca: Everything’s fine.
Jake: Did you behave yourselves?
Gianluca: We were just talking about work.
Watch Ignazio when he realizes what he still has the whistle 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).
Ignazio breaks into the Juventus Ale, Ale chant which he sings to the martial piece from the opera “Aida”.
Gianluca sings about team Roma to the melody of “Libiamo Ne’ Lieti Calici” from “La Traviata”, while yanking out the Roma red scarf. Then he cheers for the “Great Francesco” because he’s a fan of Francesco Totti (Numero 10).
Then it’s Piero’s turn and Gianluca rolls his eyes while Piero holds 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), Ignazio teases Jake for his pronunciation “è la carne?” (it’s the meat?).
Then 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 Ignazio interrupts again)
Jake 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 Gianluca also mimics Piero’s serious voice and face: ‘This is the story of Italian music…’
Then he tells Jake, “Go on, cut it out.”
Gianluca: 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: ‘Tre Tenoroni’ (The Three Big Tenors).
They all start singing “Il Mondo” while grabbing and tickling Jake from the back seat.
Ignazio: They’re doing that because you’re so soft.
The guys are now playing around with some of the Il Mondo lyrics.
Ignazio: 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, you’re back from your American tour. What happened?
Piero: We carried Italian culture there.
Jake: And tell me about the next dates.
Gianluca: (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.)
Gianluca described these theaters as “these most beautiful structures, that we only have in our country.”
Jake checks with Ignazio on this.
Ignazio: Yes, I confirm all of it.
Next, they all sing “Mamma.”
Jake: Guys, being with you has been a real bomb. But I have to get to work.
Ignazio: We brought you something. (Ignazio gives him a copy of the Notte Magica CD).
Jake: Thank you.
Ignazio: So, are you going to sell it on Ebay or keep it?
Jake: No, I’m going to keep it myself.
Gianluca: 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 with Papa Francesco. Clearly, even he was having fun with them.
I hope you enjoyed watching Italian Carpool Karaoke. I want to thank Giovanna for her translation.
I thought I would follow up with this Carpool Interview in Budapest. It’s in English! Gábor Garami is the interviewer.
I leave you with a concert, for your listening pleasure Taormina June 6, 2017 Notte Magica Tour.
Join me next week as I go back Through the Fields of My Mind and open the door to a new adventure!
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