The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #84579   Message #1562025
Posted By: Ferrara
12-Sep-05 - 03:54 PM
Thread Name: Lyr Add: Torna a Surriento
Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Torna Surriento
Chico, thank you for putting these up. I love Neapolitan songs, in case you haven't guessed. I hope I won't seem to be nit-picking, but I've sung this for over 50 years (really!) and a couple small things seem worth mentioning.

The title is "Torna a Surriento." "Torna Surriento" would mean something like "Return Sorrento [... to the Saracens??]"; Torna a Surriento means "Come back to Sorrento," which is what the song is all about.

The couplet given as
    E tu dice I'parto, addio! T'alluntane da stu core
    Da la terra da l'ammore, tiene 'o core 'e nun turnà

should read:
    E tu dice: "I' parto, addio!" T'alluntane da stu core...
    Da la terra de ll'ammore, tiene 'o core 'e nun turná?

The thing is, "Da la terra da l'ammore" means "From the land, from love," whereas "Da la terra de ll'ammore" means "From the land of love." The last phrase in the couplet, "Tiene 'o core 'e nun turná?" means "Do you really have the heart not to come back?"

It's a folk song by now (started as a parlor song in Naples) so of course there are lots of variants, and of course there are lots of recognized spelling variations for many of the Neapolitan words. But these two suggested changes are fundamental to the meaning of the song.

Last and least (This is a personal grump, not a correction): somewhere I learned the second line as "Da sta terra de ll'ammore," which means "From this land of love [i.e. Sorrento]" which I like better. Don't see it on the web that way anywhere though.

Thanks again, Chico; these are great and I'm enjoying them very much.
Rita Ferrara