Pino Daniele, Soul of Naples

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Si ‘mmuore solo quanno ‘o munno nun s’aricorda più di te. Se no, ci si allontana solo fisicamente.

“You die only when the world doesn’t remember you anymore…otherwise you only move away physically.”

This quote — partly in Neapolitan and partly in Italian — appears in a video tribute to Pino Daniele, the legendary singer from Naples who passed away on 4 January 2015.

Pino Daniele was the soul of Naples, featuring the ancient city in his lyrics and singing often with his sweet, distinctive voice in the Neapolitan dialect.

The young man in the beginning of the video above explains that Pino Daniele didn’t die because he will never be forgotten. He became a part of the fabric of Naples, as sure as the sun, sea, Mt. Vesuvius, and the islands of Capri, Ischia, and Procida.

Nun è muorto Pino Daniele…E’ comme si dimane me ne esco e dico che a Napoli è muorto ‘o sole, o è muorto ‘o mare, ‘o Vesuvio. Capri. Ischia. Procida. Guagliò…. si ‘mmuore solo quanno ‘o munno nun s’aricorda più di te. Se no, ci si allontana solo fisicamente.


Daniele’s signature song — Napule è —was sung in many tributes to Daniele when he died, including by thousands of fans at Piazza del Plebiscito and in Stadio San Paolo.

This song will always give me chills.

Here is yet another video of Napule è with the original audio and lyrics in Neapolitan and Italian. I can’t think of another song — other than Frank Sinatra’s New York New York — that so connects an artist to a place as firmly.

Last updated on February 12th, 2021

Post first published on 4 January 2021