Comme facette màmmeta

Comme facette màmmeta is a popular Neapolitan song from 1906, with music composed by Salvatore Gambardella (1871–1913), and lyrics written by Giuseppe Capaldo (1874–1919). It placed second in the song contest of the 1906 festival of Piedigrotta.

Resources

Score in G major/minor.
May 09 lyrics.

Italian article on the song at the Vesuvio live website.
Italian Wikipedia article on the song.

None of the following YouTube versions is a very close match to the version in the G major/minor score linked to above. However Franceso Albanese’s rendition of the vocal part is very close to that in the score, the only difference being his use of the alternative “anduvinà” for “addivinà” in the second halves of the refrains. All of the others are missing at least some of the syncopations occurring in the first to third and fifth to seventh lines of each verse in the score. None of the instrumental lead-ins in any of these YouTube versions is as short as that in the score and none has exactly the same form of instrumental interlude between each refrain and the following verse.

Albanese, Murolo, Bruni and Ranieri are all native Neapolitans, so their interpretations are presumably the best ones to use as guides to an authentic pronunciation.

Performances on YouTube

Francesco Albanese
Roberto Murolo
Sergio Bruni
Massimo Ranieri
Claudio Villa
Giuseppe di Stefano
Coro folkloristico Siciliano

Neapolitan lyrics

Quanno màmmeta t’ha fatta,
Quanno màmmeta t’ha fatta,
Vuò sapé comme facette?
Vuò sapé comme facette?

Pe’ ‘mpastà sti ccarne belle,
Pe’ ‘mpastà sti ccarne belle,
Tutto chello che mettette?
Tutto chello che mettette?

Ritornello 1:
Ciento rose ‘ncappucciate,
Dint’ ‘a martula mmiscate
Latte e rrose, rose e latte,
Te facette ‘ncopp’ ‘o fatto!

Ritornello 2:
Nun c’è bisogno ‘a zingara
P’addivinà,1 Cuncè’.
Comme t’ha fatto màmmeta,
‘O ssaccio meglio ‘e te!

E pe’ fa’ sta vocca bella,
E pe’ fa’ sta vocca bella,
Nun servette ‘a stessa ddosa,
Nun servette ‘a stessa ddosa

Vuò sapé che ‘nce mettette?
Vuò sapé che ‘nce mettette?
Mo te dico tuttocosa,
Mo te dico tuttocosa.

Ritornello 3:
Nu panaro chino, chino,
tutt’ ‘e fravule ‘e ciardino,
Mele, zucchero e cannella
Te ‘mpastaie ‘sta vocca bella.

(Ritornello 2)

E pe’ fa’ sti ttrezze d’oro,
E pe’ fa’ sti ttrezze d’oro,
Mamma toja s’appezzentette,
Mamma toja s’appezzentette.

Bella mia, tu qua’ muneta?
Bella mia, tu qua’ muneta?
Vuò sapé che ‘nce servette?
Vuò sapé che ‘nce servette?

Ritornello 4:
‘Na miniera sana sana,
Tutta fatta a filagrana,
‘Nce vulette pe’ sti ttrezze,
Ch’a vasà, nun ce sta prezzo!

(Ritornello 2)

1. Or “anduvinà”.

English translation*

When your mum made you,
When your mum made you,
Do you want to know how she did it?
Do you want to know how she did it?

To put together this lovely flesh,
To put together this lovely flesh,
Everything she put in it?
Everything she put in it?

Refrain 1:
She mixed a hundred rosebuds
In her kneading trough.
With milk, roses, roses and milk,
She put you together quick as a flash.

Refrain 2:
You don’t need a fortune-teller2
To work it out, Cuncè.3
How your mum made you
Is something I know better than you.

And to make this lovely mouth,
And to make this lovely mouth,
She didn’t repeat the dose,
She didn’t repeat the dose.

Do you want to know what she put there?
Do you want to know what she put there?
Well, I’ll tell you everything.
Well, I’ll tell you everything.

Refrain 3:
A basket overflowing with
Strawberries from the garden,
Apples, sugar and cinnamon
Are what she made this lovely mouth with.

(Refrain 2)

And to make these golden tresses,
And to make these golden tresses,
Your mother spent her fortune,4
Your mother spent her fortune.

My beautiful, how much money
My beautiful, how much money
Do you want to know she needed?
Do you want to know she needed?

Refrain 4:
A whole gold mine
Made completely of filigree
Is what she needed for these tresses
Which are priceless to kiss.

(Refrain 2)

2. Literally “gypsy woman”.
3. A diminutive form of “Cuncetta” (or “Concetta”).
4. Literally “impoverished herself”.

Creative Commons License  2018
*This translation, by David Wilson, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.