Conversations in Rhyme
Pittsburgh Songs in Italian, Greek, and Russian/Yiddish

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Italian Songs from the Bloomfield Neighborhood

C’e una fontanella
Ove vive una paperella:
Questa la vide
Questa l’acchiappo
Questa la cucino
Questa se la mangio
“Pippiripita, la parte a me!
Pippiripita, la parte a me”.

Vieni Madona, vieni vestita di nero,
Porta il sonno e leva la pena;
Vieni, Madonna, vestita di bianco
Porto il sonno e leva l’affanno.

Pizza tata, Pizza tata,
La mamma l’ha picchiata
Tuta contenta la famiglia
Che domain andiamo via.


There is a little fountain
Where lives a little duck:
This one I saw him,
This one I caught him,
This one I cooked him,
This one I ate him,
This one said “Pippiripita, Give a part to me!
Pippiripita, give a part to me”!

Come, Madonna, dressed in black,
Bring sleep and keep away pain;
Come, Madonna, dressed in white,
Bring sleep and keep away sadness.

Pizza tata, Pizza tata,
The mother kneads the bread;
Everyone in the family is happy
Because tomorrow we go away.

Greek Songs from the St Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church in Oakland

Palamakia pexete
Ki o babas sou erchetai
Kai sou ferni katitis – Loukoumakia sto charti.

Kounia bela
Espase i koutela
Ki ivge mia kopella–
Tin legane Katerina

Etho tha katsi to pouli
Etho tha kelaidisi,
Etho tha kani th folia,
Ki etho tha koutsoulisi!



Clap your hands,
Your father is coming
And he brings something –
Sweets wrapped in paper.

Kounia bela,
The forehead broke,
A girl came out,
Her name was Katerina.

Here will the bird perch,
Here will it sing,
Here will it build its nest,
And here will it poop!

Russian/Yiddish Songs from Squirrel Hill

Seroka varona
Kashku varila
A tchu, tchu, tchu tchu, tchu.

Afn pripetchik brent a fayerel
Un in shtib iz heys,
Un der rebbbenyu lernt kinderlakh
Dem alef beys.

Unter a kleyn vigela
Shteyt a vays tzigele,
Dos tzigele’s geforn handlen
Vos vet zayn dayn beruf
Rozhinkes un mandlen
Shlof, mayn kindele, shlof.


Seroka, the crow
Boiled up some porridge.
A tchu, tchu, tchu, tchu, tchu.

Upon the hearth burns a little fire
And it is warm in the house
And the Rabbi teaches little children
The alphabet.

Under a small cradle
Stands a white kid.
The little kid has gone to work.
What will be your job one day?
Raisins and almonds.
Sleep, my little child, sleep.


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