I remember in one of our family trips back from the Sacramento area I was playing music with my Mom in the front seat. Shando was always a gentleman and sat in the back when she rode with us. I loved it when an old classic that Mom knew would come on, whether it be from Italy or some other place. She loved Nat King Cole, Julio Iglesias, Engelbert Humperdinck and Josh Groban even. Caruso was a classic Italian song I never quite mastered memorizing, but it was a song she obviously knew well. Playing music in the car kept me awake and in some cases minimized her nagging me, although now of course I would take her nagging me about anything I miss her so much.
One time an Italian song came on that I knew the words to, and my mother was floored. I’ll never forget her cackling in laughter, cracking up as I sang Lara Fabian’s Adagio in the original Italian. She could not fathom that I would memorize an Italian song that she never heard of and she just thought it was the funniest thing in the world that I was singing in her mother tongue. It’s an extraordinary song by a singer who is of Italian heritage from Belgium and my Mom just enjoyed the heck out the moment, and I was so proud that I could share this moment with her serendipitously. I think it helped Mom to believe that I would never truly be far removed from our family in Calabria if I could accomplish something like this without her knowing. The odds of that song coming up out of the tens of thousands on my 180GB iPod was kismet, because I never again had a chance to sing that song to my mother. The important thing, though, was that we had a magical musical moment and I got to impress her and show off to her.
Here are the lyrics in English and then Italian: