I get a lot of requests for help with Italian rhymes and songs. It seemed like a good idea to post a few together as the writers may even be able to help each other! Most of these are from the children, grandchildren and great grandchildren of Italian immigrants to the United States who remember being sung these by their parents, grandparents and great grandparents. These are special memories!
The Italian is mainly written phonetically below. Here are some of the emails I’ve received…
1) Hi Lisa,
My mother and my grandmother used to say a nursery rhyme to me when I was a little girl. They would put me on their lap, facing them like I was riding on a galloping horse. The rhyme is: (Keep in mind my spelling is all wrong)
Ki Ki Ki cavallo,
la mama vien al ballo,
da scarpieta sienna….
And it goes on. My mother and grandmother were from Trieste, so it could be in dialect. I’d just like to figure out the words and meaning of the rhyme to teach my granddaughter. Hope you can help me.
2) My great grandmother was from the Abruzzi Region and used to sing us a song that started out (phonetically):
Di say comati….
I don’t remember any of the other words but know that she used to rock us on her lap during the song and then at the end would say ‘di di di di deeeee’ lean over so we would fall back and up-side-down.
I realize that I’m not giving you much to work with! Any help would be appreciated.
3) My mother used to sing an Italian nursery song to my girls when they were young, but now my mother has Alzheimer’s and can’t remember the words to teach my daughter so she can teach them to her girls. It was “mane mane manutsa vene papa, boite gozi sini va….” something to that effect, general meaning: clap hands clap hands, daddy’s coming home and bringing presents…” something like that.
It’s all my daughter has of her grandma to pass on. Please help if you can. My grandmother was from Palermo and very poor, so the words and the dialect would be home Italian versus book Italian.
4) I would like to know if anyone knows of a song my grandmother used to sing to me. I can only remember it as the Tick Tock Song. One line sounded like:
“Quando se qiere peccina bambina,
mia cuore tica tic, tica toc.”
Mind you, I have no idea if these are the actual words or if they are spelled right! I think it meant “when you need me my pretty baby, my heart goes tick tock. Thanks for your help.
I came across your site while searching for a song my nonna used to sing to me when I was little. She died in 1971 when I was six. I would lay across her lap and she would tap her fingers on my back and sing something like this:
cuanta pena tena ungoupe
en e mene mah cuanta su
There are sections missing. It was a guessing song. How many fingers do I have on your back… kind of thing. It was such a special memory for me. I wish I could find an accurate version. She was 84 when she died. She emigrated to the US in 1907.
6) Hello Mama Lisa. I wander if you could help me find this song… do you know who wrote it? or who sang it?
Sorridi alla tua mamma,
amore… sorridi a che te adato il cuor…
It’s a very old song that my mother used to sing to me….
I have just come across your website and was wondering if you could help me?
I am after an old Italian story that my father and grandfather used to tell us when we were little. I can only remember bits and pieces. Below is some of it in English……
Once upon time there was an old man who swept the church, he found some money…….bought some milk but the mouse drank it and the old man pulled off his tail…the mouse said, give me back my tail and the man said give me back my milk…….
Hope you can help me.
8) I came across your website when trying to look for a song my grandma used to sing and hoped maybe you could help or could post this and maybe someone else would know. It’s an Italian children’s song along the same idea as “this little piggy went to market”, but it talks about a duck and as you pull each finger it says this one catches it, this one cooks it, this one eats it and so on. I can only describe the Italian as it sounds from my memory and I’m not sure of the actual spelling so if anyone could help, it would be greatly appreciated. This is how I would sound it out in my head, but I would really like to know how it really goes.
Rina sta fundanelle
Ghista na ba ba della
Ghista sta goscha
Ghista sa manga
Bi bi bi bi nu boga min
Bi bi bi bi nu boga min
9) I have been looking for Manzoline de Fiore and can’t find it. Any help = my mother used to sing this song all the time when we were little.
Rose Montagner Bundra
10) Hi, Mama Lisa,
Do you know of an Italian Lullaby song with the words:
pane e cipolla.
(name) e sudare…”
Literally: “Dance, dance,
bread and onion.
Onion is cooking
and the cook is sweating!
My father-in-law sang it to all our children and we just want to know more information about it. Thanks!
If anyone can help out with any of these questions, please comment below. Give the number of the question you’re addressing so it’s clear which is being answered.
Thanks in advance!
This article was posted on Thursday, January 10th, 2008 at 11:01 am and is filed under Children's Songs, Countries & Cultures, Italian, Italian Children's Songs, Italian Nursery Rhymes, Italy, Languages, Nursery Rhymes, Questions, Readers Questions. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.
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