Welcome to another #MusicaMondays! Here’s the famous Neapolitan song Reginella!

Musica Monday BLOG_aug4

With #MusicaMondays, we at NIAF will bring you the original Neapolitan lyrics to some of the most popular songs to come out of this tradition.  And, to make a full connection with our modern community, we will provide the English language translations side by side, so that those of us who have not yet learned Italian (or Neapolitan for that matter) can finally understand the beautiful meanings behind those songs that have made up the soundtrack of generations of Italian American life!

For this week’s installation of #MusicaMondays, we bring you one of the most famous Neapolitan songs of all time… Reginella.

 

Regninella, or Little Queen in English, was written in 1917 by Libero Bovio, one of the most prolific contributors to the Neapolitan Songbook (his other famous contributions include Lacreme napulitane, Silenzio cantatore, Tu ca nun chiagne, ‘O Paese d’o sole, and Guapparia).  Gaetano Lama wrote the music as a waltz, and the piece was published by the musical publisher La Canzonetta.

Reginella tells the story of a man who runs into a lost lover on the streets of Naples and recalls how painful his life was when she left him.

Reginella (Little Queen)

Te si fatta ‘na vesta scullata,

You wearing a low-necked dress,

nu cappiello cu ‘e nastre e cu ‘e rrose,

a hat with ribbons and roses,

stive miezo a tre o quatto sciantose,

you were amongst three or four chanteuses*,

e parlave francese… è accussì?

and you spoke French… is it so?

Fuie l’atriere ca t’aggio ncuntrata?

Was it only the other day that I met you?

Fui l’atriere, a Tuledo, gnorsì…

Was it only the other day, on Toledo**, yes sir…

T’aggio vuluto bene a tte!

I loved you!

Tu m’é vuluto bene a me!

You loved me!

Mo nun nce amammo cchiù,

Now we do not love each other any more

ma, a ‘e vvote, tu,

but, at times, you,

distrattamente, pienze a me!

distractedly, think of me!

Reginè, quanno stive cu mmico,

Reginella, when you were with me,

nun magnave ca pane e cerase,

we ate only bread and cherries,

nuie campavamo ‘e vase, e che vvase,

we lived on kisses, and what kisses,

tu cantave e chiagnive pe’ me…

you sang and cried for me…

E ‘o cardillo cantava cu ttico:

And the goldfinch used to sing along with you:

«Reginella ‘o vò bene a ‘stù Re!»

“Reginella loves this King!”

T’aggio vuluto bene a tte!

I loved you!

Tu m’è vuluto bene a me!

You loved me!

Mo nun nce amammo cchiù,

Now we do not love each other any more,

ma, a ‘e vvote, tu,

but, at times, you,

distrattamente, parle ‘e me!…

distractedly, speak of me!

Oi cardillo, a chi aspiette stasera?

Oh goldfinch, who are you waiting for this evening?

Nun ‘o vide, aggio aperta ‘a caiola,

can’t you see,  I have opened the cage,

Reginella è vulata, e tu vola

Reginella has flown away, and you fly

vola e canta, nun chiagnere ccà!

fly and sing, do not cry here!

T’è ‘à truvà ‘na patrona sincera,

You must find a sincere mistress (owner),

ca é cchiù degna ‘e sentirte ‘e cantà

who is more worthy of hearing you sing

T’aggio vuluto bene a tte!

I loved you!

Tu m’è vuluto bene a me!

You loved me!

Mo nun nce amammo cchiù,

Now we do not love each other any more,

ma, a ‘e vvote, tu,

but, at times, you

distrattamente, chiamme a me!

Distractedly, call to me!

* A female singer of popular songs, especially in a nightclub.

** Via Toledo, the major shopping street in Naples.

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