Learn Italia in Song: La Pulce d’Acqua


 

Music by Angelo Branduardi, lyrics by Luisa and Angelo Branduardi,
1977

This 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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