Learn Italia in Song: La Pulce d’Acqua

Music by Angelo Branduardi, lyrics by Luisa and Angelo Branduardi,
1977This cheerful, Renaissance/Baroque-inspired tune makes a great kids’ song. It’s an old favorite of mine from when Enrico introduced me to Branduardi’s music during one of my first trips to Italy. A few years later, travelling together across the northern US, we were astonished to hear it in a Muzak version at a truck stop in Pennsylvania.In this (unfortunately poor-quality) video you can see another celebrated aspect of Branduardi: his famous mane of hair (one Italian word for which would be zazzera).

La Pulce d’Acqua Angelo Branduardi - La Pulce D'Acqua - La Pulce D'Acqua

The Water Flea

E` la pulce d’acqua And the water flea
che l’ombra ti rubò who stole your shadow
e tu ora sei malato And now you are ill
e la mosca d’autunno and the autumn fly
che hai schiacciato that you squashed
non ti perdonerà. will not forgive you.
Sull’acqua del ruscello Over the water of the brook
forse tu troppo ti sei chinato, perhaps you leaned too far
tu chiami la tua ombra, You [can] call your shadow
ma lei non ritornerà. but she won’t return .
E` la pulce d’acqua And the water flea
che l’ombra ti rubò who stole your shadow
e tu ora sei malato And now you are ill
e la serpe verde and the green serpent
che hai schiacciato that you squashed
non ti perdonerà. Will not forgive you.
E allora devi a lungo cantare And now you must sing for a long time
per farti perdonare To be forgiven
e la pulce d’acqua che lo sa And the water flea who knows
l’ombra ti renderà. Will return your shadow.

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