Stuff I ♥: Italian Songs


Despite the reading list I mentioned, since finishing my degree I have been perpetually edgy about my free time: I always have to be doing something, and something worthwhile. I’ve also been experiencing increasing guilt at the fact that – despite telling nearly everyone I meet I’m Italian – when it comes to speaking my ‘native tongue’ I can only count to ten and say ‘ice cream’. Predictably, therefore, I decided to start the BBC’s very free and very groovy ‘Italian 12 Steps‘ course to occupy my brain. So far, I have learnt that ‘una pasta‘ actually means ‘a pastry’. It BLEW MY MIND.

Now, I’m not sure how many of you know this, but my Grandpa is cleverer than Dumbledore. Throughout my entire life, as far back as I can remember, he’s taught me something awesome every time I’ve seen him. It’s thanks to him I can play cool jazz songs on the piano, do that weird ‘uooh’ sound in French words like ‘brouillard‘, tell you all about James Thurber and say the Russian word for ‘Stop’ (остановиться, in case you need to know). He is, quite literally, the source of all my wisdom, useless or otherwise.

So, naturally, as soon as I told him I was trying to learn Italian, he provided me with another source of pure marvellousity: he taught me an Italian song. Not just any old Italian song though: a song about a duck that falls in love with a poppy. Oh yes.

Somewhat surprisingly, it’s actually quite famous in Italy. It’s called Papaveri e Papere, and here it is being sung by two of Italy’s most famous singers of the 1960s (Nilla Pizzi and Mina):

Those crazy, OTT facial expressions may make you giggle (well, they made me giggle), but they are just so typically Italian.

Here are the lyrics:

Lo sai che i papaveri
You know that poppies
son alti, alti, alti

Are tall, tall, tall
e tu sei piccolina

And you are small
e tu sei piccolina

And you are small
Lo sai che i papaveri

You know that poppies
son alti, alti, alti

Are tall, tall, tall
sei nata paperina

You were born a duck
che cosa ci vuoi far?

What can you do about it?

Please learn it. Then you, too, can spend your day bursting into the line ‘E tu sei piccoliiiiiina’ at random intervals.

Beats ‘una pasta’ any day.

Image taken from Jenny Downing‘s photostream.


One thought on “Stuff I ♥: Italian Songs

  1. Pingback: Stuff my Grandpa Gave Me « Cake, Prattle & Soul

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