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About fife from Nice - The musical traditions from County of Nice (MTCN)Traditional music from County of Nice (France)
Cansoun de Levens dins A lou fifre nissart - Li tradicioun musicali de la countéa de Nissa (MTCN)
Cansoun de Levens dans Au fifre niçois - Les traditions musicales du comté de Nice (MTCN)
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Cansoun de Levens listen the Midi file for this traditional music tune score of this traditional tune
(Song for Levens city)
Nissart lyrics by M. Barralis, music by Charles Pons (1886). Traditional song from Levens, County of Nice.

Cansoun de Levens Song for Levens city

Levens: the village, as it appeared in the 1950’s. In the background, the Huesti mountain and the high plateau of Utelle.

1st verse
Dapé de Nissa li a un bèu peïs,
Lueque agreable, pichin paradis.
Qu ben lou counouisse, li plas de venir,
Qu li ès nàissu li resta me plesir.
 Near Nice there is a lovely village,
Pleasant place, little paradise.
Who well knows it is pleased to come,
Who was born there remains there with pleasure.

Viva Levens
Doun li s’està tan ben.
Repeten toui ensen :
« Viva, viva Levens ! »
 Long live Levens
Where it is so well to be.
Let’s repeat all together:
“Long live, long live Levens!”

2nd verse
Si gens soun afables, sou climà es dous,
Si filheti bèli, si jouves amourous.
Li manc’un pòu (1) d’aiga, ma li a de bouon vi,
Sa tourta es en voga lou jou dòu festi.
 People are affable, the climate is mild,
The young girls beautiful, the boys in love.
There, water misses a little, but there is good wine,
The pie (2) is fashionable the day of the feast (3).

3rd verse
Coura su la plassa ven si musiciens,
Cadù li estirassa me sou veire plen ;
Lou gran jou dòu bal, lou plesir es coumplet,
Cadù ri e canta, cadù es discret.
 When in the square come the musicians,
Everybody takes them off with the full glass;
The great day of the dance, the pleasure is complete,
Everyone laughs and sings, [but] everybody is discreet.

4th verse
La journàu fenisse m’un brandi famous ;
Per la jouventura, que moument urous !
Lou bras d’una filha si pilha me respèt,
Sou jouv’es galant, ma noun es indiscrèt.
 The day ends with a famous brandi;
For the childhood, what an happy moment!
The girl’s arm is taken with respect,
The boy is courteous, but not indiscreet.

5th verse
Farandol’ en testa, fifre e tambal batant,
A la Couola mountou ome, frema, enfan.
Per gagnàr si jolhi (4) partou si coururs,
Cadù aplôudisse qu es vitourious.
 Headed by the farandole, fife and drum rolling,
To the Hill go up men, women, children.
To win the awards start the runners,
Everybody applauds who is victorious.

6th verse
Lesta la filheta lèva si souliers
Per gagnàr foular ou fôudil de prumier.
Per està prumiera, noun cregne sou soulelh,
Ni mancou moustràr cavilha e boutel.
 Nimble, the young girl takes off her shoes
To win head scarf or apron of the winner (5).
To be first, she isn’t afraid of the sun (6),
Or showing ankle and calf.

7th verse
A Levens, cadù trova a si divertir :
Sou cassaire a sa lebre, sou tourdou a plesir.
Sou tourist’ amatour pouo fàire d’escursièu
A l’Arpassa, la Mouola e sou àute Ferièu.
 At Levens, everyone finds entertainment:
The hunter gets the hare, the thrush in plenty.
The amateur tourist can go hiking
To Arpasse, Mole and the high Ferion (7).

8th verse
Levens noun manca pas de renoum e de gloria :
Aqui es naissu l’Enfan de la Vitoria,
Ilustre Massena, vitourious de Zuric,
Poure de naissensa ma d’ounour tan ric.
 Levens doesn’t miss renown and fame:
Here was born (8) the Child of the victory,
Illustrious Massena, victorious at Zurich,
Poor by birth but of honour so rich.

9th verse
François Malaussena, lou dot avoucà
Qu’àu Barèu de Nissa s’es tan ilustrà,
D’aquestou peïs tambè es nobl’ enfan,
E la siéu memoria es cara ai Levensans.
 Francis Malaussena, the learned lawyer
Who, to the bar of Nice, becomes so much famous,
From this village also is the noble child,
And his memory is dear to the Levensans.

1. It’s often found the nonsense Li manca pa d’aiga... (Water doesn’t miss...). Nevertheless, when this song was composed (1886), water was few in the village!
2. Of Swiss chard, of course!
3. September 2nd, on Saint Antonine’day, the patron saint of the village.
4. Li jolha or jòia, si jolhi: awards given during feasts in the village to the winners.
5. The prizes given to winners.
6. The plays organized on Saint Antonine’day took place at the end of the morning (after the solemn high mass and before feast meal), usually right in the blazing midday sun.
7. Respectively hill, small valley and mountain, around the village.
8. The reality is slightly different: Andrew Massena spent only his childhood in Levens.

• Maurandi Frédéric, Annales de Levens, Nice, 1931, p. 316-317.


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