Lyrics & Knowledge Personal Pages Record Shop Auction Links Radio & Media Kids Membership Help
The Mudcat Cafemuddy

Post to this Thread - Sort Descending - Printer Friendly - Home


Lyr Req: Chi-Baba Chi-Baba (My Bambino Go to Sleep

GUEST,Daughter D 10 Jun 04 - 11:57 AM
Sorcha 10 Jun 04 - 12:56 PM
Sorcha 10 Jun 04 - 10:41 PM
John Hindsill 10 Jun 04 - 11:37 PM
Little Robyn 11 Jun 04 - 06:15 PM
John Hindsill 11 Jun 04 - 10:00 PM
Jim Dixon 18 Jun 04 - 01:18 AM
GUEST,Daughter D 28 Jun 04 - 09:34 PM
GUEST,Jader 30 Jun 08 - 04:45 PM
Rabbi-Sol 30 Jun 08 - 05:37 PM
Azizi 30 Jun 08 - 05:46 PM
Azizi 30 Jun 08 - 06:35 PM
Azizi 04 Sep 09 - 09:24 PM
Little Robyn 05 Sep 09 - 06:27 PM
Azizi 05 Sep 09 - 07:07 PM
John on the Sunset Coast 05 Sep 09 - 07:33 PM
John on the Sunset Coast 05 Sep 09 - 07:36 PM
Tug the Cox 05 Sep 09 - 07:41 PM
Azizi 05 Sep 09 - 08:16 PM
John on the Sunset Coast 05 Sep 09 - 11:56 PM
Azizi 06 Sep 09 - 12:36 AM
Little Robyn 06 Sep 09 - 06:36 AM
GUEST 06 Sep 09 - 09:27 AM
Jim Dixon 10 Sep 09 - 03:30 PM
Jim Dixon 10 Sep 09 - 06:26 PM
Azizi 10 Sep 09 - 07:40 PM
Azizi 11 Sep 09 - 09:08 AM
GUEST,Helen 25 Oct 10 - 01:16 AM
GUEST 31 Jul 15 - 04:41 PM
GUEST,leeneia 01 Aug 15 - 09:35 AM
Share Thread
more
Lyrics & Knowledge Search [Advanced]
DT  Forum
Sort (Forum) by:relevance date
DT Lyrics:



Subject: Lyrics to 'Chibaba, Chibaba, Chiwawa'
From: GUEST,Daughter D
Date: 10 Jun 04 - 11:57 AM

My dad used to sing a song that began, "Chibaba, Chibaba, Chiwawa, and a....[some nonsense words]...The stars are in the sky, ready to say goodnight..." That's all I can remember of it, and I'm trying to find the rest of the lyrics. Can anyone help me?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: Lyr Add: 'Chibaba, Chibaba, Chiwawa'
From: Sorcha
Date: 10 Jun 04 - 12:56 PM

ITALIAN LULLABY

Original song believed to be sung by
Dean Martin (circa 1950s)
Correct title -- Unknown

Many a year ago in old Sorrento,
A little ditty was quite the thing.
Whenever a mother rocked her baby in Sorrento,
This little ditty, she used to sing....

Cha baba, cha baba, Chihuahua, enchilada cucalagunga,
Cha baba, cha baba, Chihuahua, my bambino, go to sleep.

All the stars are in the sky ready to say goodnight, goodnight.
Can't you see your doll is sleepy, too?
Close your drowsy little eyes. Mama will hold you tight,
While she sings this lullaby to you.... Ever so sweet.

Cha baba, cha baba, Chihuahua, enchilada cucalagunga,
Cha baba, cha baba, Chihuahua, my bambino go to sleep.
Cha baba, cha baba, Chihuahua, my bambino go to sleep.


Found at http://www.angelfire.com/oh2/crazy1/MyLullaby.html


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyrics to 'Chibaba, Chibaba, Chiwawa'
From: Sorcha
Date: 10 Jun 04 - 10:41 PM

So, where did the Daughter go? (refresh)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyrics to 'Chibaba, Chibaba, Chiwawa'
From: John Hindsill
Date: 10 Jun 04 - 11:37 PM

Sorcha - Perry Como, 1947, had the big hit on this one. It's one of my favs, along with Civilization (Bingo Bango Bongo How I Want to Leave the Congo) also 1947. BTW, I found what seem to be more accurate lyrics to Chibaba at:    http://ntl.matrix.com.br/pfilho/html/lyrics/c/chi_baba.text


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyrics to 'Chibaba, Chibaba, Chiwawa'
From: Little Robyn
Date: 11 Jun 04 - 06:15 PM

John, wasn't that 'I don't want to leave the Congo,
No, no, no, no, no, no.
Bingo, bango, bongo, I'm so happy in the Congo,
I refuse to go.'
Can't remember what came next.
Those songs were on the radio when I was little and my Mum used to sing them to us, especially '....my bambino go to sleep.'
Robyn


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyrics to 'Chibaba, Chibaba, Chiwawa'
From: John Hindsill
Date: 11 Jun 04 - 10:00 PM

Actually, Little Robyn, you are probably right. Guess I got dyslexic on that one. - John


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: Lyr Add: CHI-BABA CHI-BABA (MY BAMBINO GO TO SLEEP
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 18 Jun 04 - 01:18 AM

I found several versions of this on the Internet. I get the impression that they were all transcribed from audio by people who didn't know any Italian. Maybe the "Italian" parts are nonsense anyway, but I have a hunch a real Italian speaker would have spelled them differently. Is there an Italian-speaker out there who can clarify?

Lyrics copied from http://kokomo.ca/early_years/chi_baba_chi_baba_lyrics.htm

CHI-BABA CHI-BABA (MY BAMBINO GO TO SLEEP)
(Music, Al Hoffman & Jerry Livingston. Lyrics, Mack David. 1947.)

Many a year ago in old Sorrento,
A certain ditty was quite the thing.
Whenever a mother rocked her baby in Sorrento,
This little ditty she used to sing:

Chi-baba, chi-baba, chi-wawa
An' chi-lawa kook-a la goombah
Chi-baba, chi-baba, chi-wawa
My bambino, go to sleep!

Chi-baba, chi-baba, chi-wawa
An' chi-lawa kook-a la goombah
Chi-baba, chi-baba, chi-wawa
My bambino, go to sleep!

All the stars are in the skies ready to say "goodnight."
Can't you see your doll is sleepy, too?
Close your drowsy little eyes. Mama will hold you tight
While she sings a lullaby to you:

Oh, chi-baba, chi-baba, chi-wawa
An' chi-lawa kook-a la goombah
Chi-baba, chi-baba, chi-wawa
My bambino, go to sleep!

(Chi-baba, chi-baba, chi-baba, chi-baba, chi-wawa, and chi-lawa)
Chi-baba, chi-baba, chi-wawa
An' chi-lawa kook-a la goombah (la goombah!)
Chi-baba, chi-baba, chi-wawa
My bambino, go to sleep!

(Chi, chi, chi-baba!)
Chi, chi, chi-baba, chi-baba, chi-wawa
An' chi-lawa kook-a la goombah (la goombah!)
Chi-baba, chi-baba, chi-wawa
My bambino, go to sleep!

All the stars are in the skies ready to say "goodnight, goodnight."
Can't you see your doll is sleepy, too?
Close your drowsy little eyes. Mama will hold you tight
While she sings a lullaby to you, ever so sweetly!

Chi-baba, chi-baba, chi-wawa
An' chi-lawa kook-a la goombah (la la goombah! chi-baba!)
Chi-baba, chi-baba, chi-wawa
My bambino, go to sleep!

Chi-baba, chi-baba, chi-wawa
My bambino, go to sleep!
Chi-baba, chi-baba, chi-wawa
My bambino . . . Go to sleep!

[Recorded by Perry Como, 1947.]


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Chibaba, Chibaba, Chiwawa
From: GUEST,Daughter D
Date: 28 Jun 04 - 09:34 PM

Thank you very much from everyone who responded to my question about the "chibaba, chibaba, chiwawa" lyrics. Luckily, I know an Italian lady who can possibly help more, now that I know where to go. My dad died several years ago, so I really appreciate finding the words.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Chibaba, Chibaba, Chiwawa
From: GUEST,Jader
Date: 30 Jun 08 - 04:45 PM

http://kokomo.ca/early_years/chi_baba_chi_baba.htm
Chi-Baba, Chi-Baba
( My Bambino Go to Sleep )
Many a year ago in old Sorrento
a certain ditty was quite the thing
Whenever a mother rocked her baby in Sorrento
this little ditty she used to sing:

Chi-baba, chi-baba, chi-wawa
An' chi-lawa kook-a la goombah
Chi-baba, chi-baba, chi-wawa
my bambino go to sleep!
Chi-baba, chi-baba, chi-wawa
An' chi-lawa kook-a la goombah
Chi-baba, chi-baba, chi-wawa
my bambino go to sleep!

All the stars are in the skies ready to say "goodnight"
can't you see your doll is sleepy, too?
Close your drowsy little eyes, mama will hold you tight
while she sings a lullaby to you:

Oh, chi-baba, chi-baba, chi-wawa
An' chi-lawa kook-a la goombah
Chi-baba, chi-baba, chi-wawa
my bambino go to sleep!

( Chi-baba, chi-baba, chi-baba, chi-baba, chi-wawa,
and chi-lawa )
Chi-baba, chi-baba, chi-wawa
An' chi-lawa kook-a la goombah ( la goombah! )
Chi-baba, chi-baba, chi-wawa
my bambino go to sleep!

( Chi, chi, chi-baba! )
Chi, chi, chi-baba, chi-baba, chi-wawa
An' chi-lawa kook-a la goombah ( la goombah! )
Chi-baba, chi-baba, chi-wawa
my bambino go to sleep!

All the stars are in the skies
ready to say "goodnight, goodnight"
can't you see your doll is sleepy, too?
Close your drowsy little eyes, mama will hold you tight
while she sings a lullaby to you, ever so sweetly!

Chi-baba, chi-baba, chi-wawa
An' chi-lawa kook-a la goombah ( la la goombah! chi-baba! )
Chi-baba, chi-baba, chi-wawa
my bambino go to sleep!

Chi-baba, chi-baba, chi-wawa
my bambino go to sleep!
Chi-baba, chi-baba, chi-wawa
my bambino . . .
go to sleep!

Music by Al Hoffman, Jerry Livingston
with lyrics by Mack David, 1947
Oxford Music Corp.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Chibaba, Chibaba, Chiwawa
From: Rabbi-Sol
Date: 30 Jun 08 - 05:37 PM

I have the midi karaoke file of this song that was recently sequenced by Dr. James Pitt-Payne of London, UK.

                                                   SOL


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Chibaba, Chibaba, Chiwawa
From: Azizi
Date: 30 Jun 08 - 05:46 PM

I've never heard this song before, and don't know whether this information is relevant or not, but I'll share it in case it is:

Regarding the line "An' chi-lawa kook-a la goombah ( la goombah! )"

from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goombah

"Goombah is a US slang term used to describe a stereotypical Italian-American. It stems originally from the pronunciation of the word «Cumpa'», which is dialect for the Italian word compare.

Goombah can also refer to:
Goomba, a fictional creature in the Mario Bros. video game series
Goomba (emulator), a Game Boy emulator named for the Mario creature
Goombah, alternative spelling of gumbe, a Jamaican drum. See List of Caribbean drums and Music of Jamaica"

-snip-

Apparently, "goomba" is an insulting referent for Italian Americans. See this entry from http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=goomba

"Goomba: An Italian American, and only an Italian America, who has ties with the mafia or any goodfellas. He is in no way a gangster or a mobster himself. He sits down eating only pasta wearing vinyl suits and massive jewelry."...

-snip-

I also found information online about this book

A Goomba's Guide to Life
by Steven R. Schirripa (Author), Charles Fleming (Author)

There are a number of online reviews from readers about this book. Here's an excerpt from one of them:

..."Contrary to the image presented by Schirripa, the majority of Italian-Americans tend strongly to seek steady employment. We don't wear sweat suits all damn day long, we're not particularly inclined to sport gold chains and pinkie rings, and we don't hang out with mob thugs. Don't mistake Las Vegas and New York City for the real world, or confuse Brooklyn (much less the Bensonhurst section of Brooklyn) with the honest-to-ghod America where most of us live and work and bring up our kids.

A lot of the "Goomba" language Schirripa spouts about is simply creolized elements of the dialects - principally Sicilian - of the impoverished southern Italian provinces ("il Mezzogiorno") from which most of our ancestors emigrated. When an Italian-American drops the final "o" from "prosciutto," for example, it's because that's a fairly common pronunciation characteristic among Sicilians. Think of it as the Italian equivalent of a Texas drawl. My mom - whose milk-tongue Italian was thoroughly Abruzzesi - used to tease my dad about his "baby talk" Sicilian dialect. Schirripa and his ghostwriter miss this - and a helluva lot else besides."
http://www.amazon.com/review/product/1400046394/ref=dp_top_cm_cr_acr_txt?%5Fencoding=UTF8&showViewpoints=1


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Chibaba, Chibaba, Chiwawa
From: Azizi
Date: 30 Jun 08 - 06:35 PM

The initial reason why this song interested me was that line


I recognized goomba as being the same as the African/Caribbean word gumbe, goombah, goombay. But it seems from that Wikipedia page that there are different etymologies for these words and the Italian "goombah". Btw, what does the Italian word compare mean?

**

In addition to the word "goomba", I was interested in the possibility that the title "Chibaba, Chibaba, Chiwawa" and the word "chihuaha"; "an' chi-lawa" -regardless how it is spelled-may have been the source for the phrase "Ooh she she wah wah" that is part of a children's handclap rhyme called "Ronald McDonald" that I've collected from Pittsburgh, PA area and Cleveland, Ohio {mid 1970s; and mid to late 1980s}. The "relevant?" lines are:

"Ronald McDonald
loves ah hamburger
Ooh she she wah wah
ah hamburger"

-snip-

The 1976 version of that rhyme has that "nonsense phrase" as:

"Ronald McDonald
was ah hamburger
Ooh! Wishie Washie
Ah hamburger"

-snip-

"Ronald McDonald" refers to the clown character who promotes and represents "McDonalds" fast food restaurants in many of that restaurant chain' commercials.

Of course, the line in the Ronald McDonald rhyme may have nothing at all to do with that "Chibaba, Chibaba, Chiwawa" song. Kids could have made that line up all by themselves, or they could have lifted it from other rhymes and songs. However, there's a possibility-no matter how remote-that there really is a connection between that song and that rhyme.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Chi-Baba Chi-Baba (My Bambino Go To Sleep
From: Azizi
Date: 04 Sep 09 - 09:24 PM

I'm refreshing this thread to see if there is any more information about this song as well as the song "I Don't Want To Leave The Congo" which is mentioned in John Hindsill - PM
Date: 10 Jun 04 - 11:37 oost and Little Robyn's 11 Jun 04 - 06:15 PM post?

Also, in his 18 Jun 04 - 01:18 AM, Jim Dixon wrote that "I found several versions of this on the Internet. I get the impression that they were all transcribed from audio by people who didn't know any Italian. Maybe the "Italian" parts are nonsense anyway"

**

That Congo song that was recorded around that same time as the coupled with the Chibaba song suggests some interest in Africa in a "Tarzan of the jungle/ungawa" way at least. I'm wondering if the refrain "nonesenical" words in that Chibaba song are pseudo-African language words. I recognize the Italian word "bambino" but "chi-wawa", "chibaba" and kook-a la goombah" "sound" like fake African language words or sounds to me.

Also, does anyone have any opinion about my 30 Jun 08 - 05:46 PM post to this thread and :goomba" as an insulting referent for Italian Americans?

If that information is accurate, did that slur predate this 1947 song or was it based on this song?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Chi-Baba Chi-Baba (My Bambino Go To Sleep
From: Little Robyn
Date: 05 Sep 09 - 06:27 PM

Hi Azizi, I've just Googled 'I don't want to leave the Congo' and found quite a few sites. It seems to be a Danny Kaye/Andrews Sisters comedy song dating from a time when there were lots of songs with odd words,imitating other languages.
I think Hollywood glamorised the idea of living in places like a jungle - there were lots of movies that portrayed life in Africa or Persia or desert islands such as all the Bing Crosby and Bob Hope Road pictures. There was South Pacific, Pagan Love Song with House of singing bamboo, Debbie Reynolds sang Aba Daba Honeymoon and of course, the actors all had a wonderful time living in primative conditions, communing with nature and singing about it. 1930s-50s escapism?

The lyrics to Bongo, Bongo, Bongo are here:

Bongo, Bongo, Bongo

Each morning a missionary advertise with neon sign
He tells the native population that civilization is fine
And three educated savages holler from a bongo tree
That civilization is a thing for me to see
So bongo, bongo, bongo I don't want to leave the congo
Oh no no no no no
Bingle, bangle, bungle I'm so happy in the jungle I refuse to go
Don't want no bright lights, false teeth, doorbells, landlords
I make it clear
That no matter how they coax him
I'll stay right here
I looked through a magazine the missionary's wife concealed
(Magazine? What happens?)
I see how people who are civilized bang you with automobiles
(You know you can get hurt that way Daniel)
At the movies they have to pay many coconuts to see
(What do they see Danny?)
Uncivilized pictures that the newsreels take of me
So bongo, bongo, bong he don't want to leave the congo
Oh no no no no no
Bingle, bangle, bungle he's so happy in the jungle he refuse to go
Don't want no penthouse, bathtub, streetcars, taxis
Noise in my ear
So no matter how they coax him
I'll stay right here
They hurry like savages to get aboard an iron train
And though it's smoky and crowded they're too civilized to complain
When they've got two weeks vacation they hurry to vacation grounds
(What do they do Danny)
They swin and they fish but that's what I do all year round
So bongo, bongo, bongo I don't want to leave the congo
Oh no no no no no
Bingle, bangle, bungle I'm so happy in the jungle I refuse to go
Don't want no jailhouse, shotguns, fish hooks, golf clubs
I've got my spear
So no matter how they coax him
I'll stay right here
They have things like the atom bomb
So I think I'll stay where I "om"
Civilization, I'll stay right here


Robyn


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Chi-Baba Chi-Baba (My Bambino Go To Sleep
From: Azizi
Date: 05 Sep 09 - 07:07 PM

Thanks, Robyn.

I appreciate you posting that information.

Best wishes,

Azizi


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Chi-Baba Chi-Baba (My Bambino Go To Sleep
From: John on the Sunset Coast
Date: 05 Sep 09 - 07:33 PM

Hi, Azizi, so good to hear from you. Did a tad research on 'goombah' since you reopened the topic. Most of what I found dealt with an Italian or Italian-American usage...on a continuum of a word of affection to a slightly pejortive use, especially since the 1980s.

The song, 'Come on-a My House', written by an Armenian/American and sung with a fauxtalian accent by Rosemary Clooney auound 1950 uses the words Goombah an Chadrool (whatever the spelling and meaning of that word). Of course, sang, "Hey, Goombah" in his Vegas and other acts.

A couple of sources did cite a possible etymology between Goombah and Goombay. I have a gut feeling--no direct knowledge--the two words are more homphonic than related.

JotSC


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Chi-Baba Chi-Baba (My Bambino Go To Sleep
From: John on the Sunset Coast
Date: 05 Sep 09 - 07:36 PM

Of course, LOUIS PRIMA sang, "Hey, Goombah" in his Vegas and other acts.
Caps not indicating yelling, just omission.
J


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Chi-Baba Chi-Baba (My Bambino Go To Sleep
From: Tug the Cox
Date: 05 Sep 09 - 07:41 PM

I remembert seeing the 'Bongo ' song in a film, which I sem to emember starred cary grant, or perhaps gregory peck. Also a parody aimed at Mr. Lumumba during the civil war.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Chi-Baba Chi-Baba (My Bambino Go To Sleep
From: Azizi
Date: 05 Sep 09 - 08:16 PM

Hi, John and Tug the Cox.

Thanks for sharing that information.

Tug the Cox- I was preparing myself for some really offensive words to that Congo song. I relieved that it wasn't as bad as it could have been given those times.

John, I'm assuming that homophonic (is that the right spelling?) means that the words sound the same but have different origins.

Am I in the right seat at the ballpark?

So I gather the etymology of the Italian Goombah isn't really known...and the jury's still out as to whether this Chi-Baba Chi-Baba song is fake Italian or not.

As to that song haven't any connection with the "Ooh she she wa wa" phrase in the (I think African American originated) children's rhyme "Ronald McDonald", I guess that was a really big stretch. It's just that those words/sounds "sounded" alike (so those two are homophonic? Is that how you use that word. I'm respectfully asking because homphonic or homophonic is a new word for me. I tried to look it up online and that's how I got that homophonic spelling. But the wikipedia page was on music and I couldn't find a page with a definition, though I admit I didn't really look hard because I figured I could figure the meaning out myself.

Thanks again.

Azizi

Azizi


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Req: Chi-Baba Chi-Baba (My Bambino Go To Sleep)
From: John on the Sunset Coast
Date: 05 Sep 09 - 11:56 PM

Homophones, notwithstanding my spelling, are actually words which sound alike, but are spelled differently (ie write, right). While Goombah and Goombay don't exactly sound alike (except for the 'goom'), and I am not a linguist, that was the closest word I could come up with to express my idea, no matter how inelegantly.

As I reread my post again. it has an error. The song cited is actually "Mambo Italiano" from about 1955 wherein those 'Italian' words are used. Sorry for that...chalk it up to haste.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Req: Chi-Baba Chi-Baba (My Bambino Go To Sleep)
From: Azizi
Date: 06 Sep 09 - 12:36 AM

Well, I can't very well talk about errors, given my track record for typos.

Notice my signing my name 2 times. That was not on purpose. :o)

Best wishes,

Azizi


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Req: Chi-Baba Chi-Baba (My Bambino Go To Sleep)
From: Little Robyn
Date: 06 Sep 09 - 06:36 AM

'The song cited is actually "Mambo Italiano" from about 1955..'

I remember that one - Rosemary Clooney is singing it in my head right now....

Hey, mambo! Mambo italiano!
Hey, mambo! Mambo italiano
Go, go, go you mixed up sicialiano
All you calabraise-a do the mambo like a crazy with a
Hey mambo, don't wanna tarantella
Hey mambo, no more a mozzarella
Hey mambo! Mambo italiano!
Try an enchilada with da fish a bac a lab and then a
Hey goombah, I love a how you dance a rhumbah


All the words are here.
It was the fashion to write songs with tricky, mock foreign words - maybe some were real but others were homophonic versions from people who didn't know the genuine article.
Robyn


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Req: Chi-Baba Chi-Baba (My Bambino Go To Sleep
From: GUEST
Date: 06 Sep 09 - 09:27 AM

Can that "bac a lab" actually be bacalao, the Spanish word for salted codfish?

It would rhyme with Italiano...

Rosemary Clooney once described her enormous hit, "Come Onna My House," as an Irish girl singing a song by two Armenians in an Italian dialect.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Req: Chi-Baba Chi-Baba (My Bambino Go To Sleep)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 10 Sep 09 - 03:30 PM

Indiana University gives this information:

Title: CHI-BABA CHI-BABA
Alternative Title [subtitle]: MY BAMBINO GO TO SLEEP
Lyricists/Composers: Mack David, Al Hoffman, Jerry Livingston
Published: New York, Oxford Music Corporation, 1947
First Line: Many years ago in old Sorento a certain ditty was quite....
First Line of Chorus: Chi-baba, chi-baba, chi-wawa, enjalawa, cookala goomba

* * *

Now that we have some of the "authentic" spelling from the sheet music, I have to modify my views somewhat. Although all the transcriptions I found on the Internet were spelled phonetically, probably based on audio recordings, I now believe the original lyrics were also spelled phonetically, according to "English" spelling conventions. That is, the writers made no attempt to use Italian-style spelling, but instead wrote nonsense words that were designed to sound (sort of) Italian when read and pronounced by English-speakers.

For example, the traditional Italian alphabet doesn't have the letters J, K, W, X, or Y. An Italian writer would use the letter combination "gi" to represent the "j" sound, as in mangiare (to eat), Giovanni (John), Giuseppe (Joseph).

I'm not too surprised; the songwriters' names (David, Hoffman, Livingston) certainly don't sound Italian.

The question remains whether the writers were trying to imitate the sound of some authentic Italian words.

(I am a little out of my depth here, though; I wish some fluent Italian speaker would comment on this.)

* * *

Besides the original 1947 sheet music, I found that CHI-BABA, CHI-BABA (MY BAMBINO GO TO SLEEP) is included in the following songbooks:

Hal Leonard Publishing Corp., "The 1940s: Piano, Vocal, Guitar", 2005.

Jeffrey Weiss, Martha Saxton, Rupert Holmes, "The Forties", Consolidated Music Publishers, 1975.

* * *

Now, as to whether "goomba" or "goombah" is an insulting term? All I can say is that I grew up on the fringe of an Italian neighborhood in St. Louis, and I had several friends who were Italian ("Italian-American" we would say today, although we didn't use that term then; my "Italian" friends had parents or grandparents who were born in Italy), and I don't think I ever heard the word "goomba" in those days. (I was born in 1947 and left St. Louis in 1965.)

The only insulting term I ever heard was "dago," and that was pretty rare. (Then I was surprised when I moved to St. Paul and found "dago sandwiches" on the menu of some small local cafés, and people saw nothing wrong with it. But then, there are relatively few Italians in St. Paul.)

I do believe I heard the word "goomba" used on TV, in a friendly or bantering way, maybe by Dean Martin on his TV show, probably addressed to one of his Italian-American guests?but that was later, 1965 to '74.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Chi-Baba Chi-Baba (My Bambino Go to Sleep
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 10 Sep 09 - 06:26 PM

From The Routledge Dictionary of Modern American Slang and Unconventional English by Tom Dalzell, 2008:

goombah noun
a loyal male friend; an Italian-American US, 1954
An Italian-American usage, sometimes used in a loosely derogatory tone.

*
Here's another story from early TV, circa 1954-56, from Take It from the Big Mouth: The Life of Martha Raye by Jean Maddern Pitrone, 1999:

[Retired boxer Rocky] Graziano ... found that "Marta" [Martha Raye] frequently said and did crazy things (ad libs) that at first disconcerted him. Once she suddenly addressed him as "Goombah." Rocky did a double-take, then realized that he was the Goombah to whom she was referring. Fram that time, Rocky became known as Goombah on the Martha Raye Show.

*
From Six to Five Against (fiction) by Jeff Sherratt, 2004:

"Hey Goombah, whaddya know, whaddya say?"
Luigi, the owner of Luigi's Italian Deli on Paramount Boulevard, greeted me at the door. He always said the same thing when I stopped for a pizza. I wasn't sure what goombah meant, but he called all his customers goombah, even the Italian ones. It must have been okay; they kept coming back.

*
From The Annotated Godfather: The Complete Screenplay by Jenny M. Jones, 2007:

[from the screenplay:]
WOLTZ: ... I don't care how many dago, guinea, wop, greaseball goombahs come out of the woodwork.

[in a sidebar on the same page:]
Puzo's novel doesn't pull any punches with Woltz's dialogue. He yells: "I don't care how many guinea Mafia goombahs come out of the woodwork."... (Italics added). The term Mafia doesn't appear in the film.

[So "Mafia" is more offensive than "dago, guinea, wop, greaseball"? and "goombah" is neutral??JD]

*
From The Italian American Experience in New Haven by Anthony V. Riccio, 2006:

In "Il Padrino," or "The Godfather," the traditional Italian-American "compare," or godfather, became a made-for-movie godfather with a sinister side as head of a gangster family. After the huge commercial success of "The Godfather," and the string of wise-guy movies of the same genre that followed during the '80s and '90s, the word "compare" evolved into the phonetically spelled word, "goombah." "Goombah" has now become the modern catch phrase for the decades-old stereotypical Italian-American wise guy starring in the latest generation of gangster movies the public has come to expect, a disparaging name casually injected into conversations referring to anyone of Italian ancestry.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Chi-Baba Chi-Baba (My Bambino Go to Sleep
From: Azizi
Date: 10 Sep 09 - 07:40 PM

Thanks for posting that information, Jim.

Perhaps we'll never know the etymology of that word as used to refer to Italians, but it seems as though it is of 1950s or so American origin and not Italian (European continental) origin.

If "goomba" isn't from some African language or languages, it certainly sounds like it is.

I still wonder if "goomba" came to be used as a referent for Italians because it is a backhanded referent to most[?] Italians' darker skin (relative to most other Europeans], that darker skin being a remnant of their the Moors being in Italy for so many years.
[Moors were/are African since Morocco is in the African continent]

**


See these entries for that word from http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=guinea%2C%20goomba%2C%20wop%2C%20dago :

"guinea, goomba, wop, dago
Italians are not white, dude

Uh, Italians are not white. They're like their own race."

by hmm Apr 19, 2005 share this

**

"guinea, goomba, wop, dago
Derragatory slang terms for Italians. Guninea: Stands for the Guinea African Coast, Implying Italians are not white (completely untrue!).
Goomba: Italian word for Godfather, Implying mafia connections.
Wop: Stands for Without Papers, as many Italian immigrants coming in from Italy to America did not have papers. Dago: Not sure."

-snip-

Note: I personally consider Italians to be White, except those who self-declare that they aren't (lke Black Africans or African Ameicans living in Italy). I'm just quoting that urbandictionary.com entry for the folkloric record.

-snip-

But (and?)*,for what it's worth, see this entry from
http://www.kensavage.com/archives/sopranos-italian-slang/

Brush Up on Your Mobster Slang Before The Sopranos Final Season Starts

"Goomba ? Term of affection or respect.
ex: That Tony Soprano is a stand up guy, a real goomba"

*I wrote "and" because there can be multiple reasons why a word has the colloquial meaning/s it has (at one time, or at the same time).


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Chi-Baba Chi-Baba (My Bambino Go to Sleep
From: Azizi
Date: 11 Sep 09 - 09:08 AM

I'm not sure how credible this online source is, but The Racial Slur Database gives this information about the word "goombah"

"From the Italian word "Compare" (pronounced 'cumpa') meaning "a close friend." Considered a slur when used by non-Italians to describe an Italian male. Was first used by Louis Prima who was famous for bastardizing the Italian language in his witty songs for his American audience. The Goomba is also the weakest enemy in Nintendo's Super Mario Bros. video game series."


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Chi-Baba Chi-Baba (My Bambino Go to Sleep
From: GUEST,Helen
Date: 25 Oct 10 - 01:16 AM

The Greek word for doll is koukla so maybe that is one little bit more to unravelling the story thread


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Chi-Baba Chi-Baba (My Bambino Go to Sleep
From: GUEST
Date: 31 Jul 15 - 04:41 PM

I found the Oxford Music Corp. Words and music by Mack David, AL Hoffman, Jerry Livingston: Chi-baba Chi- Baba (My Bambino Go To Sleep)
Recorded and featured by Perry Como, Copyright 1947.
Many years ago in old Sorento A certain ditty was quite the thing
Whenever a mother rocked her baby in Sorento This little ditty she used to sing Chi baba chi baba chi wa wa, enjalawa cook a LA good balance Chi baba chi baba chi wa wa My babies go to sleep chi baba chi baba chi wa wa, enjoy ja LA wa, cook a LA good ba, etc.....


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Chi-Baba Chi-Baba (My Bambino Go to Sleep
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 01 Aug 15 - 09:35 AM

This is a nice song with a pretty melody, (hear it on YouTube), but let's face it, that nonsense part is just plain embarrassing. I mean, goombah? chi-hua hua (a dog) enchilawa? (almost Mexican food)

The ideal thing would be to find a person from Sorrento and have them write a verse in their dialect of Italian.

Failing, that, one could play an instrument on the "chibaba" verse or craft a verse of vocables that we recognize as such, maybe keeping the "chibaba, chibaba" syllables and moving on to la, tra la la and lullay.

It's too nice a song to let those silly sounds keep it buried.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate
  Share Thread:
More...

Reply to Thread
Subject:  Help
From:
Preview   Automatic Linebreaks   Make a link ("blue clicky")


Mudcat time: 22 February 1:56 PM EST

[ Home ]

All original material is copyright © 1998 by the Mudcat Café Music Foundation, Inc. All photos, music, images, etc. are copyright © by their rightful owners. Every effort is taken to attribute appropriate copyright to images, content, music, etc. We are not a copyright resource.