#MusicaMondays Brings You ” ‘O Sole Mio” (My Sunshine)

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It’s time for another #MusicaMondays, when Team NIAF brings you the original Neapolitan lyrics to some of the most popular songs we all know and love, along with 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 a song known the world over, and one that must be familiar to every Italian ear, no matter how many generations one might be removed from La Madre Patria…  a Neapolitan classic that is literally one of the most recognized songs in the world… ‘O Sole Mio.

‘O Sole Mio, translated to My Sunshine in English, was written in 1898 by Giovanni Capurro to music composed by Eduardo di Capua.

‘O Sole Mio has been performed by countless, including icons of opera like Enrico Caruso, Beniamino Gigli, and Mario Lanza. Long-time NIAF supporter Sergio Franchi recorded this song on his 1962 debut album, Romantic Italian Songs, and Luciano Pavarotti won a Grammy Award for Best Classical Vocal with his 1980 version.

Many artists have created new lyrics for the tune in their own language.  In 1949 American singer Tony Martin recorded “There’s No Tomorrow” which used the melody of ‘O Sole Mio. A decade later, while serving in Germany with the U.S. Army, Elvis Presley heard the song and after his discharge, he requested that new lyrics be written especially for him!  Presley’s song “It’s Now or Never” and was a worldwide hit, and in concert Elvis would explain the origin of “It’s Now Or Never” and have singer Sherrill Nielsen perform a few lines of the original Italian version before commencing with his version.

And now, for your enjoyment, here are the lyrics in both languages for one of the most important works in the Italian American Songbook…

‘O Sole Mio (My Sunshine)

Che bella cosa è na jurnata ’e sole,

What a beautiful thing is a sunny day,

n’aria serena dopo na tempesta!

the air is serene after a storm!

Pe’ ll’aria fresca para già na festa…

The air is so fresh that it already feels like a celebration…

Che bella cosa na jurnata ’e sole!

What a beautiful thing is a sunny day!

 

Ma n’atu sole cchiù bello, oi ne’,

But another sun that’s brighter still,

’o sole mio sta nfronte a te!

it’s my own sun that’s upon you!

’o sole, ’o sole mio, sta nfronte a te,

the sun, my own sun, it’s upon you

sta nfronte a te!

it’s upon you!

 

Quanno fa notte e ’o sole se ne scenne,

When night comes and the sun has gone down,

me vane quasi ’na malincunia;

I feel almost melancholy;

sotta ’a fenesta toia restarria

below your window I would rest

quanno fa notte e ’o sole se ne scenne.

when night comes and the sun has gone down.

 

Ma n’atu sole cchiù bello, oi ne’,

But another sun that’s brighter still,

’o sole mio sta nfronte a te!

it’s my own sun that’s upon you!

’o sole, ’o sole mio, sta nfronte a te,

the sun, my own sun, it’s upon you

sta nfronte a te!

it’s upon you!

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