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Francesco Rosi

(15 nov 1922 -
10 jan 2015)

An Italian film director.

Texts of the Neapolitan songs

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Tammurriata nera


Museca: E.A. Mario,

Vierze: Eduardo Nicolardi.

Anno: 1944

Black tambouriata


Music: E.A. Mario,

Lyrics: Eduardo Nicolardi.

Year: 1944

Tambouriata (from "tammorra" (a tambourine)) is a Neapolitan song, accompanied with tambourines.

The song tells about a frequent event in Naples of days of Second World War when after American soldiers in Naples begun to be born black-skinned babies.


Io nun capisco, ê vvote, che succede
E chello ca se vede
Nun se crede! Nun se crede!

È nato 'nu criaturo niro, niro
E 'a mamma 'o chiamma Giro!
Sissignore, 'o chiamma Giro!

Seh! Gira e vota, seh!
Seh! Vota e gira, seh!

Ca tu 'o chiamme Ciccio o 'Ntuonno,
Ca tu 'o chiamme Peppe o Giro,
Chillo, 'o fatto, è niro, niro,
Niro, niro comm'a cchè!

'O contano 'e ccummare chist'affare:
" 'Sti fatte nun sò rare,
Se ne contano a migliare!

Ê vvote basta sulo 'na guardata
E 'a femmena è restata,
Sott' â botta, 'mpressiunata".

Seh! 'Na guardata, seh!
Seh! 'Na 'mpressione, seh!

Va' truvanno mò chi è stato
C'ha cugliuto buono 'o tiro.
Chillo, 'o fatto', è niro, niro,
Niro, niro comm'a cchè!

Ha ditto 'o parulano: "Embè, parlammo,
Pecché, si raggiunammo,
Chistu fatto nce 'o spiegammo!

Addò pastine 'o ggrano, 'o ggrano cresce,
Riesce o nun riesce,
Sempe è ggrano chello ch'esce".

Meh! Dillo â mamma, meh!
Meh! Dillo pure a mme!

Ca tu 'o chiamme Ciccio o 'Ntuonno,
Ca tu 'o chiamme Peppe o Giro,
Chillo, 'o fatto, è niro, niro,
Niro, niro comm'a cchè!



Sometimes I don't understand what happens
And what you see
You don't believe it! You don't believe it!

A black, black baby has been born
And his mum calls him Ciro!
Yes, she calls him Ciro!

Well! It's happened how it had to happen!
Well! It couldn't be otherwise!

You can name him Francesco or Antonio,
You can name him Giuseppe or Ciro
The fact is the same: he's black, black,
He's black like never!

Midwives whisper about this fact:
"These things are not rare,
We can count thousand cases!

Sometimes it's enough only one look
And a woman becomes passionate
In a moment".

Well! Only one look!
Well! Only one passion!

It's interesting to know who he was
Who has left such traces.
But the fact is the same: he's black, black,
He's black like never!

A gardener has told: "Well, let's talk,
Because if we discuss it,
We can explain this fact!

Where you sow a grain, a grain grows there,
It turns out or doesn't turn out,
A grain is always a grain that comes out".

Well! Say it to mum!
Well! Say it also to me!

You can name him Francesco or Antonio,
You can name him Giuseppe or Ciro
The fact is the same: he's black, black,
He's black like never!

translated by Natalia Chernega