Help me ID this Italian lullaby (or pop song?)
November 28, 2016 11:51 AM   Subscribe

Around 1957, the Italian maid sang this lullaby to my father and his siblings. Based on my grandmother's remembered lyrics, can anyone help me find it? Sulla sedia io mi dondolo / E tu sei fra le mie braccia / Piccolina della mama / Nina nana nin' oe'

My father's (American) family lived in Italy when my father was a child, around 1957. The family had a live-in maid who sang this lullaby to the children, and taught it to my grandmother. My grandmother is 96 now, and over Thanksgiving weekend she sang it to my children—it's beautiful, and I want to learn the whole thing. She kindly wrote down the lyrics for me, and we sang it through together a few times. I'm hoping to find a recording of the tune (and possibly more complete lyrics).
  • My father (who was there at the time) guesses that it might be a contemporary Italian pop song (if so, it's still clearly a lullaby).
  • I didn't get anywhere by searching for key phrases in Google or Google Books.
Nana is highly literate and still sharp as a tack at 96, but she probably hasn't heard the source material for 49 years and I don't believe she's fluent in Italian. So I worked with Google Translate to copy-edit her notes into what I think is more-correct Italian:

Sulla sedia io mi dondolo
E tu sei fra le mie braccia
Piccolina della mama
Ninna nanna nin' oe'

ta dormienti come un angelo
Ed io sono la tuo cuscino
angioletto piccolino
ninna nanna nin oe'

Al tuo risveglio amore
mi sorriderai
Sera il più bel regalo
felice mi farai

Sulla sedia Io mi dondolo
E tu sei fra le mie braccia
angioletto piccolino
nina nanna nin oe'
posted by lostburner to Society & Culture (3 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
And the faithful transcription of her original notes:

Sulla sedia Io mi dondolo
E tu sei fra les mia braccia
Piccolina della mama
Nina nana nin' oe'

Ta dormenti come un angella
Ed io sono la tua cuhschina
Anjeletta picolina
nina nanna nin oe'

Al tus resveglio amore
mi sorri derai
Sera il piu bell regalo
felice mi farai

Sulla sedia io mi dondolo
E' tu sei fra les mia braccia
Angeletta piccolina
nina nanna nina oe'
posted by lostburner at 11:52 AM on November 28, 2016


I can't help you actually find the thing, because it's not familiar to me and (as you've already found) Google turns up nothing, but I can help fix the Italian to be fully correct and provide a translation:

Sulla sedia io mi dondolo
E tu sei fra le mie braccia
Piccolina della mamma
Ninna nanna ninna oh

I rock on the chair
and you are in my arms
mum's little one
lullaby, lullaby.


T'addormenti come un angelo
Ed io sono il tuo cuscino
Angioletta piccolina
Ninna nanna ninna oh

You fall asleep like an angel
and I am your pillow
Little angel
Lullaby, lullaby


Al tuo risveglio amore
mi sorriderai
Sarà il più bel regalo
felice mi farai

When you wake up, love
you will smile at me
It will be the most beautiful gift
you will make me happy


Sulla sedia Io mi dondolo
E tu sei fra le mie braccia
angioletta piccolina
ninna nanna ninna oh

I rock on the chair
and you are in my arms
mum's little one
lullaby, lullaby.


(Note that "piccolina" and "angioletta piccolina" are the female versions of the words. If you wanted to sing this to a baby boy, you'd use "piccolino" and "angioletto piccolino".)
posted by sailoreagle at 2:35 PM on November 28, 2016 [8 favorites]


I don't recognize the lyrics but if you put the ninna nanna ninna oh at the beginning of the stanza, the syllable structure strikes me as close to this lullaby which has a variety of versions. Maybe these lyrics were a family/improvised version?
posted by romakimmy at 8:15 AM on November 29, 2016 [1 favorite]


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