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Texts of the Neapolitan songs

Pane e cepolle


Museca: Ernesto De Curtis,

Vierze: Giambattista De Curtis.

Anno: 1909

Bread and onion


Music: Ernesto De Curtis,

Lyrics: Giambattista De Curtis.

Year: 1909

Instrumental version


Tu stive 'mmiez' â terra 'o mese 'Austo
Sott' a ll'ombra 'e 'nu cevezo, mangiave
Pane e cepolle e cu 'nu tale gusto
Che a mme veneva 'a voglia d' 'o ppruvà.

Penzavo 'ncap' a mme: Pane e cepolle,
'Mmiez' a 'na terra, sott' a 'na friscura,
Cu 'na guagliona schietta pe' natura…
Chesta se chiamma vita pe' campà!

Tu stive sott' a 'n'albero 'e cerase,
Cuglive 'e mmeglie schiocche e ll'assagiave.
Vocca e cerase erano 'a stessa cosa
E i' speravo sulo 'e te guardà.

Penzavo 'ncap' a mme: Cerase toste,
'Ncopp' â muntagna, ll'aria profumata,
Cu 'na figliola 'e carne assaje 'ncerata…
Chesta se chiamma vita pe' campà!

Dint' ô cellaro 'a votta nova apriste,
Vevive comm' a ll'acqua 'o sferrazzuolo…
Fresca tu stive e ffresca tu rumaniste…
E a mme venette 'a freva a starme llà!

Dicevo 'ncuorp' a mme: Vino sincero,
Pane e cepolle 'mmiez' a 'na campagna,
Cu 'na pacchiana ferma d' 'a muntagna…
Chesta se chiamma vita pe' campà!

translated by Natalia Chernega


You stood in the field in August
Under the shadow of mulberry tree,
You ate bread and onion with such gusto
That I also wanted to taste it.

I thought: Bread and onion,
In the middle of the field, under the coolness,
With a girl sincere by nature…
This is life to live!

You stood under a cherry tree,
You picked the ripe clusters off and tasted them.
Your lips were like the cherries
And I wanted just to look at you.

I thought: Wild cherries,
On the mountain, the fragrant air,
With a fair skin girl…
This is life to live!

In the cellar you opened a new barrel,
You drank the wine like the water…
You were desirable and remained desirable…
And I had a passionate desire to be there!

I said to myself: Real wine,
Bread and onion in a countryside,
With a country girl living on the mountain…
This is life to live!

translated by Natalia Chernega