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 You are here: Home > MIDI music! > Popular songs > lyrics Li Castagna (The Chestnuts). Saturday October 24th 2020, Saint Anthony Mary Claret. 

Li Castagna listen the Midi file for this traditional music tune score of this traditional tune
(The Chestnuts)
Nissart lyrics and music by Georges Delrieu. Traditional from County of Nice.

Li Castagna The Chestnuts

Watercolour by Gustav Adolf Mossa published in Souta l’oulivié (“Under the olive tree”) by Georges Delrieu and Henri Carol, ed. Delrieu frères, to illustrate Li Castagna.
 1st verse          
Cuhiès a tai la frucha
Dai espès castagnié,
L’atroverrias destrucha
Venguessias tròu tardié.
À Santa Catarina
Lou miéu paigran diguèt :
« Castagna fan farina,
Fiha pou fà dejèt. »
 Pick just in time the fruit
Of the thick chestnut trees,
You would find it destroyed
If you came late.
At Catherine’s Day
My grandfather was saying:
“Chestnuts make flour,
Girl may make scrap.”

Fès cueire de castagna
Per festejà l’autoun ;
Pourta n’en de cavagna
N’en cau un gros mouloun.
Boulegas la sartàia,
De fenoui au pairòu,
De gotou sus la touàia
M’un tomou de vin nòu.
 Cook chestnuts
To celebrate (1) the autumn;
Bring [full] baskets,
It’s needed a big heap.
Shake the frying pan,
[Put] fennel in the cauldron,
Glasses on the tablecloth
With a bottle (2) of new wine.

2nd verse          
Una fiha
     Bella, magara laida,
     Caduna a soun courpet.
     L’airis vous crida : « Gàida ! »
     Se li mandas lu det.
     Se, per cas, calignaire
     Afougat siès vengut,
     Avesina-vous gaire :
     Se tocas, siès pougnut !
 A girl
     Pretty, may be ugly,
     Every girl has her small sin (3).
     The bur shouts you: “Careful!”
     If you send it your fingers;
     If, by accident, [as a] lover
     Absent-minded (4) you came,
     Don’t be close:
     If you touch, you get pricked!

3rd verse          
Un vièi
     De fouora la castagna
     Pouorta lusènt mantéu ;
     Mai d’un còu la magagna
     Duèrme souta la pèu.
     Un jouve aima ’na fiha,
     Li plas, a bèn rasoun.
     Ma coura la si piha,
     Ientra ’n diau à maioun.
 An old man
     Outside, the chestnut
     Wears a glistening coat;
     More than once the damage (5)
     Sleeps under the skin.
     A young man loves a girl,
     She pleases him, he is absolutely right.
     But when he takes her (6),
     A devil enters the house.

4th verse          
Un ome
     De castagna – s’en trova ! –
     Si laisson rèn cuhi ;
     Dòu bastoun fès la prova
     E li pourrès durbì.
     Se la frema es testeta,
     Se vòu menà maioun,
     S’un jour lou tron vous peta :
     Pihas lou balandroun !
 A man
     Some chestnuts – they can be found! –
     Don’t let them be picked;
     Try the stick
     And you will can open them.
     If the wife is stubborn,
     If she wants to manage the house,
     If a day the thunder explodes:
     Take the “making dance stick (7)”!

1. Festejà = to feast.
2. One tòmou = three litres, cf. La Miéu Bella Nissa.
3. From courpa = to beat one’s breast, misdeed, sin.
4. Afougà = to suffocate, to drown.
5. Magagna, flaw, spot, defect (from mahagnare, to go bad, to rot), cf. Lu Pastourèu and Lo Fantome Pellegrin.
6. He takes her as his wife.
7. From balandrin, idle, and balandrinà, to be with nothing to do.

• Delrieu (Georges), Anthologie de la chanson niçoise (Anthology of the Song from Nice), Nice, publisher Delrieu & Co, 1960, p. 70-71.
• 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. 82-83.


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