D’argent à une aigle de gueules, au vol abaissé, membrée, becquée et couronnée d’or, empiétant une montagne de trois coupeaux de sable issant d’une mer d’azur mouvant de la pointe et ondée d’argent.

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 You are here: Home > MIDI music! > Feasts > lyrics Lou Festin dei verna (The Feast of the alders). Monday August 3rd 2020, Saint Lydie. 

Lou Festin dei verna listen the Midi file for this traditional music tune score of this traditional tune
(The Feast of the alders)
Nissart lyrics by François Guisol. Traditional from County of Nice.
Tune Chantons, enfants de Nice.

At this period, Nice was only a small town, the population of which was almost entirely concentrated in the current old town. From the very first days of spring, the inhabitants of Nice went to the country and had a picnic lunch on bank of river Var, under the high alders. Lou Festin dei verna occurred in Sainte-Marguerite area, on Whit Monday.

The “hum” of the second part of the chorus (“Es lou festin dei verna...”) is found exactly in Saint Fiacre aux artichauts (Saint Fiacre with artichokes), a traditional song from South of Wallonia (Belgium).

On this tune Lou Festin dei verna, François-Dominique Rondelly, known as Menica Rondelly wrote some texts, among which A la bella poutina, Viva la pesca, Viva l’estocafic !

See also À San-Jouan, Cansoun nissarda.

Lou Festin dei verna The Feast of the alders

Watercolour by Gustav Adolf Mossa to illustrate Lou Festin dei verna.
 1st verse                
Lou mès de Mai es arribat,
Lou plus bèu es ahura.
Anèn culhì li flou dòu prat
E la frucha madura (1).
 The month of May has arrived,
The more beautiful is now.
Let’s go and pick the flowers in the meadow
And the ripe fruits.

Belli partida
De Santa Margarida.
Sus l’èr dei tendre passeroun
Faguèn retentì de cansoun,
Faguèn, faguèn retentì de cansoun.
Es lou festin dei verna
Que tan bèn n’en gouverna,
Que tan, que tan,
Que tan bèn n’en gouverna.
 Fine outings in the country
To Saint Margaret.
On the tender passerines tune
Let’s ring songs,
Let’s, let’s ring songs.
It’s the feast of the alders
Which so well control us (2),
Which so, which so,
Which so well control us

2nd verse                
Cad’an pèr aquesta sesoun
Paire, enfan, maire e filha
Venès au Var sus lou gasoun
De familha en familha.
 Each year in this season
Father, child, mother and daughter
Let come to the Var on the lawn
From family to family.

3rd verse                
N’oublidès pas lou saucissoun,
Lou jamboun, la toumeta.
Aven a doui pas dei bouissoun
Li plu tendri faveta.
 Don’t forget the (pork) sausage,
The ham, the (cheese) tomme.
We have, just a stone’s throw from the bushes,
The more tender French beans.

4th verse                
En arriban soubre lou luèc
Dai fecoundi limita,
Si preparèn à faire fuèc
E bulhi la marmita.
 Coming on the place
With fertile boundaries,
We prepare ourselves to make fire
And the cooking pot to boil.

5th verse                
Un courre lèu cercà de tronc,
Assende la basana,
Et nautre faguèn su lou jounc
Audi li nouostri ourgana.
 One runs quickly and look for wood,
Lights the tinder,
And we, we make over the bulrush (3)
Hear our fine voices.

6th verse                
A l’oumbra d’un fuèlhage estrech
E verdejanti tenda,
Faguèn d’assetat e de drech
La plu sana merenda.
 In the shade of a narrow foliage
And a verdant curtain,
We have, seated and (or) up,
The more healthy snack.

7th verse                
Se fauta de vin vous vèn souon,
Reveia-vous jouinessa,
Li Dama e Payan n’an de bouon
Per creisse l’allegressa !
 If, through lack of wine, comes sleep,
Let wake, youth,
The Ladies and Payan (4) have good one
To make the jubilation grow!

8th verse                
Après un bouon past frugal,
Agradable e campestre,
Cantèn, virèn, sembla lou bal
D’un paradis terrestre.
 After a good and frugal meal,
Pleasant and rural,
Let’s sing, let’s turn, it looks like the dance
Of an earthly paradise.

Jean-Baptiste Toselli (see below Bibliography) published, under the name of (Bernard ?) Martin-Saytour, a version of Lou Festin dei verna (The Feast of the alders) that embeds the following complementary verse, inserted before the last verse:

  verse A                
Canten, viren tout a l’entour
Coma de ninfa messi,
Celebren lou festin d’amour
E de terra promessi.
 Let’s sing, let’s dance all around
As harbinger nymphs,
Let’s celebrate the feast of love
And of the Promised Land.

1. Pierre Berringer indicates me that his father Louis, born in the Babazouk in 1897, sang the following variant:
     Lou mès de Mai es arribat, | Lou plus bèu es ahura. | La fava grana lou faiòu, | La cerièia es madura.
     Au festin de li verna | Si canta li lanterna, | Si can, si can, | Si canta li lanterna.

     (The month of May has arrived, | The more beautiful is now. | The French bean [makes] seed of the bean, | The cherry is ripe.
     At the feast of the alders | Are sung the lanterns, | Are sung, are sung, | Are sung the lanterns.)
This variant was sung alternately, year after year, with the original version.

2. In his Dictionnaire niçois-français, Georges Castellana gives: gouvernà = to govern , to rule, to feed, and si gouvernà = to behave.

3. May be a basket, turned upside down, on which climbed the singer. Or better, as suggests me Michel Savary, an allusion to a flute or a fife carved in a reed (or jounc, bulrush, for the rhyme), accompanying the songs and so over which it would be sing.

4. Li Dama (The Ladies): sign of an inn in the neighborhood of Sainte-Marguerite, that was sharing the clientele with the establishment ran by Payan family.

• Delrieu (Georges), Anthologie de la chanson niçoise (Anthology of the Song from Nice), Nice, publisher Delrieu & Co, 1960, p. 154-155.
• Tosan (Albert), Princivalle (Gaël) and d’Hulster (Frédéric), Anthologie de la chanson du comté de Nice (Anthology of the Song from County of Nice), Nice, Serre publisher, series “Encyclopædia niciensis – Patrimoine régional”, volume III, 2001, p. 122-123.
• Toselli Jean-Baptiste, Rapport d’une conversation sur le dialecte niçois, Nice, Ch. Cauvin, 1864, p. 125.
• revue Nice historique, Nice, n° 9, 1907, p. 143 ; n° 10, 1910, p. 193.

• La Belugada, Cants de Provensa e dau païs Nissart, volume 1, 1984.
• Collectage, Nissa vielha, réalisation Nux vomica.
• Collectif, En barouna.
• Corou de Berra, Miédjou.


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