Sto core mio (16th century) is a villanelle. In that word, you hear ‘villano’, which means ‘peasant, rural’. Next to e.g. the tarantella, the moresca or the nenia, it is one of the typical, traditional song styles of southern Italy. During the renaissance, composers have been influenced by this song tradition and they introduced them into their own compositions. Orlando di Lasso not less than others, resulting in this magnificent Sto core mio. Originally, this is a villanelle for three voices, but for as long as mankind can remember, it has been performed by Neapolitan musicians in different arrangements and from different backgrounds.

Era de Maggio (1885) is the love song of a young couple that lyricises their attraction to each other in a scented garden. As a contrasting intermezzo between the two verses, the title song by Peter Verhelst, ‘A Canzone ‘e Partenope, portrays the heart-breaking lament of the sad Partenope.

During ‘A serenata ‘e Pullecenella (1912) we encounter Pullecenella, the Neapolitan character from the Commedia dell’ Arte. His name is derived from the word ‘pulcino’, meaning baby bird.  The tradition narrates how he was born from a turkey egg, which is also the explanation for his hunchback, potbelly and nose like a beak. Pullecenella is a mysterious figure, who can be either male or female, or both at the same time. He always succeeds in steering any situation to his own profit, even though he is sinfully ugly. In this serenade, he is secretly in love but cannot find the heart to tell it, scared that his friends and the people from Naples will mock him.

Canto delle lavandaie del Vomero (1200) is, together with Jesce sole, the oldest known Neapolitan song. It was found in a source from the 12th or 13th century and most likely originates from washing ladies (‘lavandaie’) that were working on the Vomero Mountain. Today, Vomero is a residential quarter in Naples, but back then it was agricultural terrain where broccoli was grown. This is basically a song about lending and exchanging handkerchiefs, but later became a protest song in which the handkerchief symbolises a patch of land.

Madonna tu me fai (16th century) is a villanelle as well, relating the story of a man who has to face the fact that his beloved one has chosen the arms of another lover. He begs her to have pity on him, the only one who truly worships her.

Scioscia popolo (1971) is probably the most theatrical and marvellous song on the recording. It is a protest song that has its origin in the rebellious sentiments towards the Spanish presence in Italy. The text is Eduardo De Filippo’s and appears in his historical drama Tommaso d’Amalfi, which relates on Masaniello. Scioscia popolo means: “Blow, people!” The song explains how the oppressor steals and destroys everything of beauty. But, some rebels claim, we will be waiting for you. We will wait until the wood has dried, because then it can catch fire and we burn everything down to the ground ourselves. Next to the literal meaning, it also refers to the fire of a passionate kind of people that can be stirred, making them rise up if the fire is blown upon with enough conviction.

Tre feneste (1936) tells the story of three beautiful women: a blonde one, a brunette and a ‘rossa malupina’, an evil one with red hair. Based on an 1878 text by Giovanni Verga, one could conclude that redheads were viewed as evil-spirited in southern Italian regions. A somewhat free translation could lead to the idiomatic expression ‘red hair, bad hair’.

Strada nfosa (1957) is a jazzy song that portrays the ending of a love affair, in the middle of a desolate street.

Abballo means ‘I dance’. It is a composition of Peter Verhelst for voice, guitar, bass clarinet, bandoneon, cello and percussion.

Dimme ‘na vota si‘ (1858) is a very adorable song about someone who is deeply in love. He begs: “Say yes for once! I want you so badly!”

Luna Rossa (1951) shows a man who walks the lonely streets at night and asks the red moon whether the woman of his dreams is still waiting for him. The red moon has to disappoint him every time, though, answering: “What are you waiting for? There is nobody here …”

A Marechiaro (1886) is a love song for a certain Caroline. She lives in Marechiaro, a fishing village next to Naples that was one of the favourite holiday destinations of the Hollywood jet set in the Golden Sixties. The Caroline from the song is said to have existed in real life and you can still go and look at the infamous ‘fenesta’.

La morte de Mariteto (16th century) is another villanelle, in which a man impatiently awaits the death of the husband of the woman he dreams about. Villanelles often give expression to very strong feelings, like jealousy and yearning, the wish to be able to disappear, to die, or to change into someone or something completely different.



Sto core mio
m.: Orlando di Lasso

Sto core mio, se fosse di diamante,
saria spezzato per tanto dolore,
quanto ne prove et sent' a tutte l'hore.

Era de maggio
m.: Mario Pasquale Costa
t.: Salvatore Di Giacomo

Era de maggio e te cadéano 'nzino,
a schiocche a schiocche, li ccerase rosse.
Fresca era ll'aria e tutto lu ciardino
addurava de rose a ciento passe.
Era de maggio, io no, nun mme ne scordo,
na canzone cantávamo a doje voce.
Cchiù tiempo passa e cchiù mme n'allicordo,
fresca era ll'aria e la canzona doce.

E diceva: "Core, core,
core mio, luntano vaje,
tu mme lasse, io conto ll'ore.
Chisà quanno turnarraje."
Rispunnev'io: "Turnarraggio
quanno tornano li rrose.
Si stu sciore torna a maggio,
pure a maggio io stóngo ccá.

E só' turnato e mo, comm'a na vota,
cantammo 'nzieme lu mutivo antico.
Passa lu tiempo e lu munno s'avota,
ma 'ammore vero no, nun vota vico.
De te, bellezza mia, mme 'nnammuraje,
si t'allicuorde, 'nnanz'a la funtana.
Ll'acqua, llá dinto, nun se sécca maje
e ferita d'ammore nun se sana.

Nun se sana. Ca sanata,
si se fosse, gioja mia,
'mmiez'a st'aria 'mbarzamata,
a guardarte io nun starría.
E te dico: "Core, core,
core mio, turnato io só'.
Torna maggio e torna 'ammore.
Fa' de me chello che vuó'.

A Serenata ‘e Pullecenella
m.: Enrico Cannia
t.: Libero Bovio

E stó' aspettanno cu stu mandulino
ll'ora che, 'a cielo, se ne trase 'a luna.
Mme só' nascosto dint'a nu ciardino,
pe' nun 'o ffá assapé
ca só' semp'io ca cerco scusa a te.

Te voglio tantu bene.
Te voglio tantu bene.
T' 'o ddico zittu, zittu, zittu, zitto,
ca, si allucco, 'a gente
ca nun sape niente,
pò sentí: "Te voglio bene".

Mme metto scuorno 'e fá sapé a ll'amice
ca "tinco tinco" torno e faccio pace.
Si 'appura 'a gente, Napule che dice?
Ca mm' 'e vvoglio fá fá
sott'a chist'uocchie cierti 'nfamitá?

Te volgio tantu bene...

Na vota ero 'o cchiù guappo 'e ll'Arenella,
tenevo 'nnammurate a mille a mille,
e mo mme faje chiammá Pulicenella.
Ma tu ce pienze o no,
ch'éro nu guappo, guappo overo. E mo? 

Te volgio tantu bene...

Canto delle lavandaie del Vomero*
m. & t.: anonymous

Tu m’aje prommise quatte muccatora**
oje muccatora, oje muccatora!
Io so’ benuto se, io so’ benuto
se me lo vuo’ dare!

E si no quatte embe’, rammenne ddoje
rammenne ddoje, rammenne ddoje!
chillo ch’è ‘ncuollo a tte nn’e’ rroba toja,
nn’e’ rroba toja,

* Vomero: wijk in Napels
**muccatora = zakdoek, symb. lap grond

Madonna tu me fai lo scorrucciato
m. & t.: anonymous

Madonna tu mi fai lo scorrucciato,
che t'haggio fatto, che griffi la cera?
Anima mia, questa 'n'è via
de contentar 'st'affannato cuore.

Me par che m'habbi in tutto abbandonato,
cha non t'afacci all'ora della sera.
Anima mia...

Va' figlia mia, che ci haggio ‘ndivinato,
che saccio con chi giochi a covallera.
Anima mia...

Donna, caro mio ben, dolce signora,
habbi pietà d'un chi te sola adora.
Anima mia...

Scioscia popolo
m.: Domenico Modugno
t.: Eduardo De Filippo, uit “Tommaso d’Amalfi”

Si tiene na fenesta,
te la 'nzerrano.
Tiene na chianta 'e rose
e ll'hê 'a annasconnere,
e che bello, ce spogliano.
Pure 'o sciato ce levano,
pure 'o sciato ce levano,
e che ato vò'?

E pìgliate, pìgliate,  
pìgliate pure li figlie.
E tècchete, tècchete,
tècchete pure 'a mugliera.
E zùcate, zùcate,
zùcate pure lu sango.
E zùcate, zùcate,
zùcate pure lu sango,
zùcalo, zùcalo,
zùcalo si vuó' zucà.

attiento a te.
'A legna
s'è seccata,
e ca perciò te dico:
"Attiento a te."

'A legna,
'a legna,
'a legna s'è seccata.
E quanno è secca e asciutta
piglia fuoco.

S'aìza la vampa
e avvampa.
e 'ncielo arriva
e' fiamma viva
chi 'a pò stutà?

Scióscia popolo.
Shhhhh, shhhhh
'ncopp'a stu ffuoco ardente.
Shhhhh, shhhhh
arapíte 'a fenesta.

'Mpizzalo, 'mpizzalo,
'mpizzalo comm'a saciccia
Stùtalo, stùtalo,
stùtalo comm'a cannela
Zùcalo, zùcalo,
zùcalo comm'a lu sango
Zùcalo, zùcalo,
zùcalo comm'a lu sango.
Làlala- làlala
'Mpizzalo, 'mpizzalo,
'mpizzalo comm'a saciccia
Stùtalo, stùtalo,
stùtalo comm'a cannela
Scànnalo, scànnalo,
scànnalo comm'a capretta
Scànnalo, scànnalo,
scànnalo comm'a capretta
Scànnalo, scànnalo,
scànnalo si vuó' sunà.

e 'ncielo arriva
e' fiamma viva,
chi 'a pò stutà?

Scioscia tu
e scioscio io
e sciusciammo tutte 'nzieme
quanno 'o popolo s'aunisce
a se passa 'o primmo sciuscio.

Scioscia, scioscia,
scioscia, sció'.
Scioscia, scioscia,
scioscia, sció'.

Tre feneste
m.: Giuseppe Cioffi
t.: Gigi Pisano

Tre aucielle, tre cajole,
tre feneste, tre figlióle
ca só' belle comm' 'o sole.
Tre chitarre 'nnammurate
fanno 'e stesse serenate
tutt' 'e ssere a sti ffigliole,
ca só' belle comm' 'o sole.
S'affaccia 'a biundulella e dice: "Sì".
S'affaccia 'a brunettella e dice: "Sì".
Ma 'a rossa malupina**,
niente, nun ne vò' sapé.
E pe' chesto, na chitarra
soffre e chiagne comm'a che.

Tre aucielle, tre cajole,
tre feneste, tre figliole
só' rimaste sole sole.
Só' partute pe' suldate
tre chitarre 'nnammurate.
E pe' chesto, sti ffigliole
só' rimaste sole sole.
E penza 'a biundulella: "Turnarrà?"
E dice 'a brunettella: "Turnarrà?"
Cu na lacrema 'int'a ll'uocchie
pure 'a rossa dice: "Embè,
si ritorna pure chillo,
mme ll'astrégno 'mpiett'a me."

Tre medaglie, tre suldate.
Tutt'allère só' turnate
sti cchitarre 'nnammurate.
Tre vestite bianche 'e spose,
tre faccelle comm' 'e rrose.
Sott' 'o vraccio 'e sti suldate,
dint' 'a cchiesa, só' spusate.
Apprimma 'a biundulella ha ditto: "Sì".
E doppo 'a brunettella ha ditto: "Sì".
Pure 'a rossa malupina,  
forte forte, ha ditto: "Sì,
tant'onore, só' felice,
'mbracci'a te voglio murì".

Tre feneste, tre figliole
braccia loro tre nanille
ca só' belle comm' 'o sole.

Strada nfosa
m. & t.: Domenico Modugno

Mme dice: "Nun si' fatta pe'mmé"
e t'annascunne 'a faccia, pecché?
'Sta lacrema lucente che vò'?

Mmiez'a na strada 'nfosa
ce simmo ditte addio
sola pe' n'ata via
te veco parti'
'mmiez'a na strada 'nfosa
chiagnenno mm'he vasato
e io ca mme ne moro
te lasso parti'!
pecche' tu vuo' resta' ma te ne vaje?
pecche'te voglio bene e dico: va'?
'mmiez'a na strada 'nfosa
sulo comm'a na vota
sulo cu sto destino
ca mo vo' accussi'

Dimme ‘na vota si
m.: Carlo Scalisi
t.: Mariano Paolella

Tu nce si' nata co le rrose 'mmano...
tu si' crisciuta tra li giesummine...
pe' te stóngo malato e non mme sano
e tu, carella mia, non ll'andevine?

Dimme 'na vota sí, ca mme vuó' bene..
lo bbide ca nun pòzzo proprio cchiù!?

Quanno vedette a te, stette a zompare
sto core ca mettiste 'ntra le ppene.
Chesti rrosélle tienatelle care:
una de cheste, mme la daje a méne...

Dimme na vota sí,...

Quanta nce vònno prete a fà no ponte,
tanta suspire tu mme si' costata.
Sti ddoje stelle ca tu tiene 'nfronte,
te fanno bella assaje cchiù de na fata.
Dimme na vota sí,...

Luna rossa
m.: Antonio Vian
t.: Vincenzo De Crescenzo

Vaco distrattamente abbandunatο
Ll'uocchie sott'o cappiello annascunnute
mane 'int'a sacca e bavero aizato
Vaco siscanno e stelle ca so'asciute

E'a luna rossa mme parla 'e te
io lle domando si aspiette a me,
e mme risponne: "Si 'o vvuo'sape,
cca nun ce esta nisciuna...”

E io chiammo 'o nomme pe'te vede,
ma, tutt'a gente ca parla 'e te,
risponne: "E tarde che vuo'sape?!
Cca nun ce sta nisciuna!..."

Luna rossa,
chi mme sarra sincera?
Luna rossa,
se n'e ghiuta ll'ata sera senza mme vede
E io dico ancora ch'aspetta a me,
for'o barcone stanott'e ttre,
e prega 'e Sante pe'mme vede
Ma nun ce sta nisciuna

Mille e cchiu appuntamente aggio tenuto
Tante e cchiu sigarette aggio appicciato
Tanta tazze 'e cafe mme so' bevuto
Mille vucchelle amare aggio vasato

E'a luna rossa mme parla 'e te...

A Marechiaro
m.: Francesco Paolo Tosti
t.: Salvatore Di Giacomo

Quanno spónta la luna a Marechiaro,
pure li pisce nce fanno a ll'ammore
Se revòtano ll'onne de lu mare:
pe' la priézza cágnano culore
Quanno sponta la luna a Marechiaro.

A Marechiaro ce sta na fenesta:
la passiona mia ce tuzzuléa
Nu garofano addora 'int'a na testa,
passa ll'acqua pe' sotto e murmuléa
A Marechiaro ce sta na fenesta

Chi dice ca li stelle só' lucente,
nun sape st'uocchie ca tu tiene 'nfronte!
Sti ddoje stelle li ssaccio i' sulamente:
dint'a lu core ne tengo li ppónte
Chi dice ca li stelle só' lucente?

Scétate, Carulí', ca ll'aria è doce
quanno maje tantu tiempo aggi'aspettato?!
P'accumpagná li suone cu la voce,
stasera na chitarra aggio purtato
Scétate, Carulí', ca ll'aria è doce!

La morte de mariteto
m.: Giovanni Tommaso di Maio

La morte de mariteto aspett'io
e no per altro no,
ma mi dubito ca primma me mor'io
deh quanto sei bella tu.
Deh ca la vorria trovare
ma non la pozz'asciare
accussì bella comm'a te.

E tutto lu juorno sto addenucchiato
e no per altro no,
e ca Dio m''o lev''a 'nanze ''stu scurore
deh quanto sei bella tu....


Sto core mio
m.: Orlando di Lasso

My heart, if you were made of diamond
you would break by all the grief
Like you attempt and feel constantly now

Era de maggio
m.: Mario Pasquale Costa
t.: Salvatore Di Giacomo

It was May, and in your lap fell
bunches of red cherries, in heaps.
The wind was cool and in the garden
and far beyond it, it smelled like roses.
It was May and we sang a duet together,
I will never forget it, quite the contrary,
the more time passes, the better I remember
that the air was cool and our song sweet.

And you told me: ‘My dearest,
my dearest, you will travel far from here.
You will leave me and I, I will count the hours
but who knows when you will return.’
I answer you: ‘I will return
when the roses blossem again
when this flower flourishes again in May
Then it will be May on my return.’

And they blossom again, like never before
and together we sing the old song.
Time passes by and the world keeps on spinning,
but true love never changes.
To you, my love, I lost my heart,
remember, here at this fountain.
Just like the water in it that will never dry up,
the wound that love inflicts will never heal.

She will never heal, because if she would,
if things could turn out that way, my love,
I would not be standing here in this sweet air
looking at you.
And I tell you: ‘My love,
my love, I have returned
that May has returned, love has returned,
do with me as you see fit.’  

A Serenata ‘e Pullecenella
m.: Enrico Cannia
t.: Libero Bovio

I’m standing here, waiting, with my mandolin,
for the hour on which the moon appears in the sky,
I’m hiding in a garden
so that you would not know
that it is always me who wants to see you.

I want you
I want you so bad
but I tell you that only in a whisper
because otherwise the people
who know nothing
could hear: ‘I want you so bad!’

I’m too shy to tell it to my friends
and prefer to sneak away.
If the people would know, what would
Naples say? Why would I
ridicule myself before their very eyes?

I want you so bad …

Once I was the most handsome in the neighbourhood
and had strings of lovers
but today I let them call me Pullecenella.
You wouldn’t believe it: I was a stud,
a Don Juan even, but now?

I want you so bad …  

Canto delle lavandaie del Vomero*
m. & t.: anonymous

You promised me four handkerchiefs**
Ah, handkerchiefs!
I came here
so that you would give them to me.

And if you cannot give me four,
then give me three.
The one you’re carrying around your neck
Is not yours by right.

* Vomero: Quarter in Naples
**handkerchief/patch -> symbolises a patch of land

Madonna tu me fai lo scorrucciato
m. & t.: anonymous

Girl, you are hurting me.
What have I done, that you scorn me?
My love, this is no way
to pleasure a saddened heart, is it?

It seems like you have abandoned me completely
because I don’t see you from dawn till dusk
my love …

Run, my girl, to the one who you
admire. Because I know to whom you run
my love …

Girl, my love, sweetest of women
have pity on the one who only admires you
my love …

Scioscia popolo
m.: Domenico Modugno
t.: Eduardo De Filippo, uit “Tommaso d’Amalfi”

If you had a window,
then they would only close it before you.
If you have a bouquet of roses
they will rip it apart,
and whatever is beautiful, they will destroy.
Even your breath they take away from you,
even your breath they take away from you,
what else do they want?

And they even grope
our girls.
And they even grope
our women.
And they even
suck our blood,
well then suck,
if you want to suck.

I will be waiting for you.
For the wood,
when it has dried,
that’s why I say:
‘I will be waiting for you’

The wood,
the wood,
when the wood is dry.
And when it has dried,
it can catch fire.

The flame rises
and flares up.
The flame
reaches the sky
the flame is alive
who can smother her?

Blow, people!
Shhhhh, shhhhh!
On this roaring fire!
Shhhhh, shhhhh!
Open the window!

Let them sear
like little sausages,
let them smother
like a candle,
let them suck
just like the blood.
Làlala – làlala
Let them sear
like little sausages,
let them smother
like a candle,
butcher them
like a goat,
butcher them
like a goat,
butcher them,
if you want to make it sound like that.

She rises
and reaches the sky
and the flame is alive,
who can smother her?

You blow
and I blow
and we all blow together
when all the people unite
it will happen with the first blow.

Blow, blow,
blow, blow!
Blow, blow,
blow, blow!  

Tre feneste
m.: Giuseppe Cioffi
t.: Gigi Pisano

Three little birds, three cages,
three windows, three girls
who are as beautiful as the sun.
Three guitars in love
play the same serenade
all night long for those girls
who are as beautiful as the sun.
The blonde looks outside and says: ‘yes,’
the brunette looks outside and says: ‘yes,’
but the evil redhead
says nothing, she doesn’t even want to listen.
And therefore, there is one guitar
that cries and suffers like no other.

Three little birds, three cages,
three windows, three girls
stay behind on their own.
They have left with the soldiers,
the three guitars in love
and that is why the girls stay behind
on their own.
And the blonde one thinks: ‘Will he come back?’
And the brunette thinks: ‘Will he come back?’
With one tear in her eye
the redhead finally says: ‘Ok,
if mine returns as well,
I will press him at my bosom.’

Three medals, three soldiers.
They all return happily,
the guitars in love.
Three white bridal dresses,
three faces with rosy cheeks.
At the arms of the soldiers,
they enter the church and get married.
First the blonde one says: ‘Yes!’
Next, the brunette says: ‘Yes!’
And the evil redhead
says very firmly: ‘Yes,
what an honour, I cannot believe my luck,
in your arms I want to die.’

Three windows, three girls,
with at their skirts three little children
that are as beautiful as the sun.

Strada nfosa
m. & t.: Domenico Modugno

You tell me: ‘you’re not made for me,’
and hide your face, but why?
What’s that glistening tear?

In the middle of a desolate street
we say goodbye to one another
and, lonely, I see you walk away
into another street.
In the middle of a desolate street
you kissed me goodbye, crying
and me, who stands here, dying,
lets you go!
Why do you walk away, if you want to stay?
Why do I like you this much, yet tell you: ‘Go’?
In the middle of a desolate street,
alone, just like before,
alone with this fate,
that was laid out for me like this.

Dimme ‘na vota si
m.: Carlo Scalisi
t.: Mariano Paolella

You were born with roses in your hands …
You grew up amidst Jasmin …
You make my heart incurably ill
and you, my love, don’t see that?

Say yes for once, I want it so bad,
don’t you see I can no longer cope with it?

When I see you, my heart leaps up
and then it is devoured by pain.
Those roses that you hold so endearingly:
will you give one of them to me …

Say yes for once …

As many stones as one needs to build a bridge,
that many sighs you have costed me already.
Those two stars that adorn your face,
make you more beautiful than a fairy
Say yes for once …

Luna rossa
m.: Antonio Vian
t.: Vincenzo De Crescenzo  

I walk confused and alone,
eyes hidden underneath the brim of my hat,
hands in my pockets and collar up,
I walk, whistling to the rising stars.

And the red moon tells me about you,
I ask her whether you’re waiting for me
and she answers me: ‘If you want to know,
there is no one here …’

And I call your name to see you,
but all the people who talk about you
answer: ‘It is late, what do you want to know?
There is no one here …’

Red moon,
who is going to be honest with me?
Red moon,
she left yesterday without even looking at me
and I keep on telling myself that she waits for me,
on the balcony, around 3 a.m.
and that she prays to all the saints, to see me,
but there’s no one there …

Thousand and more dates I had.
Even more cigarettes I have lit
and I’ve had as many cups of coffee.
Thousands of bitter lips I have kissed.

And the red moon tells me about you …

A Marechiaro
m.: Francesco Paolo Tosti
t.: Salvatore Di Giacomo

When the moon rises above Marechiaro,
even the fish make love,
the waves of the sea swell impatiently:
by sheer delight they change colours
when the moon rises above Marechiaro.

In Marechiaro there is a window
on which my passion knocks.
An aromatic carnation in a vase,
below, the water ripples and whispers.
In Marechiaro there is a window.

Whoever claims that the stars shine
doesn’t know the eyes that adorn your face!
Only I know those two stars:
I pinned them down in my heart
Who claims that the stars shine?

Wake up, Caroline, the air is sweet,
why have I waited such a long time?!
To accompany those sounds with my voice
I have brought my guitar tonight.
Wake up, Caroline, the air is sweet!

La morte de mariteto
m.: Giovanni Tommaso di Maio

I’m waiting for the death of your husband
and not in vain, no,
but I’m afraid that I will die first,
ah, you are so beautiful.
Ah, how I would like to find another,
but I cannot find someone
who is as beautiful as you.

And all day long I’m on my knees
and not in vain, no,
and I pray to God to free me from my suffering,
ah, because you are so beautiful …

English version by Pauwel De Wilde