Happiness. What is it? The great, classic Italian pop song “Felicita” by Albano Carrissi and Romina Power sees eye-to-eye with me on the answer to that question. Here is the original version, which I featured in Idle Thoughts On Italian Pop Songs:

No one more than Suburban_elk had me thinking about dancing as essential to healthy movement and social bonding. He recently mused:

The American White form has morphed (over the last 40 thousand years) into step dancing and clogging style stuff.

That’s what we need people to be doing. That goes on at folk festivals in Appalachia or whatever-it’s-called and making a very real comeback Many such cases!

This is a well-done live cover by a boy and girl aged 12 and 13 respectively. Like with drawing, kids’ dancing is natural energy, even if they are just keeping time like those two, not mannered or self-conscious.

This on-stage cover by two teenagers starts with a blooper when the girl discovers that her mic is off, but the couple’s cool heads help them recover literally without missing a beat. Young women rouse our desire when they are wild and hot, but also when they look wounded, like in this case. The girl was shaken for a while, but that made for a charming performance in its own right. At 1:34, her partner touches her in a protective way and that brings back her glow.

I like the young man’s style. Reminds me of me at his age.

(Open thread)

The original song’s lyrics roughly translated from Italian:

Happiness is holding hands and going away together
Happiness is an innocent look in the middle of a crowd
Happiness is staying close like children

Happiness is a downy pillow
The rivers’ water that flows, the rain flowing down the roofs
Happiness is turning off the light so peace can rule

Happiness is a glass of wine and a sandwich
Happiness is leaving a note inside a drawer
Happiness is singing together ‘how much I like you’

You can feel our soaring love song in the air
Like a thought that knows happiness
You can feel in the air a warmer ray of sun
That flows like a smile that knows about happiness

Happiness is a surprise night with a full moon and the radio on
It is a card full of little hearts
Happiness is an unexpected call

Happiness is a beach at night, the waves that hit the shore
Happiness is a hand full of love over the heart
Happiness is waiting for sunrise to do it all over again

[Refrain x3]

17 thoughts on “Felicita

  1. This society of ours has no common culture anymore.

    Dancing with your peers, is not ought something that you did ONCE at the bright young age of seventeen years and drunk at a high school party.


    Recently this week the city had some ‘in the park’ music schedule festival thing at the band shell in the park by the beach near the rail road tracks that used to have street cars.

    It’s a big draw for urban Whites in these parts. There is literally no other “activities” that occur in the parks, that are based on music and are “supposed” in the style of common culture and civic spirit and the rest of that sort of thing.

    But again, and as with the Fourth of July, the music failed to deliver. It was frankly ridiculous: Steel Drum percussion, all White players, but playing in an African style. I kid you not. The details are true.

    The disappointment in the crowd was palpable.

    I put out a joke as they were warming up and about to play, and called out Freebird fairly loud in just the right volume and tone. As far as that sort of live action street theatre joke, it was pretty much genius level success.

    Because the joke was that they weren’t gonna be playing Freebird. (and we weren’t that crowd)

  2. All basic music is based on foot stomping and getting in time.

    I credit PA with his observation, that among Whites and Asians, it’s a martial thing and among the Africans is a booty thing.

    That observation seems right.


    There is an A&E biography of Hank Williams, and it’s pretty terrible in its style and presentation, except it contains original footage. [*]

    And the point being that Hank is credited with grandfathering country music, but that all come from people barn dancing irl.

    There is specific clip of them at the Grand Old Oprah, where EVERYONE on stage is just doing the hootenanny for all their worth.

    Among the readers here, who has EVER done that?

    And yet for them back then EVERYONE did it. It was the most fun anyone ever had, and they looked forward to it all week.

    In that specific clip, there is one guy who is about 300 lbs and he does fast double-time footwork like a wild animal but with practiced inspired choreography.

    These people were all dressed in their best clothes. Their good time clothes

    Gonna sing gonna cry
    gonna moan gonna sigh
    gonna dance, in my good time clothes

    I emphasize this theme, at considerable embarrassment to the author, because it’s a rich vein that no one else seems to be mining.

    It beats Matt King’s theology by a country mile I’ll say.

    And frankly it’s more important.

  3. * It’s not a terrible biography though, if you can watch television.

    Hank Williams was a momma’s boy, by everyone’s account.

    Neither of his parents was even musical, but him mom was an overbearing personality, and he never really seemed to get free of her, though of course he died young, of prescription overdose (interestingly enough).

    He last wife was a total babe.

    The principal theme of his music was the unbearable loneliness. Also he was alcoholic. He was an asshole, and obnoxious, and tolerated only just.

  4. Gonna sing gonna cry
    gonna moan gonna sigh
    gonna dance, in my good time clothes

    Those phrases might be out of order.

    They are of course, from the American Traditional, In the Pines, which is sometimes listed as a blues classic but is not really.

    Nirvana did a good take on it but does not include the quoted verse.

    Life was hard on the railroad, back in the day. Those lyrics are very elemental, but they’re not metaphorical.

  5. I spent a few hours today on a nature quest, and was tired and laid back and watched the birds in the sky.

    It was kind of a lifey moment, where it was just like clear that all the personal drama adds up to nothing, and what’s important is appreciating what matters.

    It’s so easy, like it’s the default mode, to get wrapped up in the hustle and the trouble. But with the help of God and grace, that can be transcended, to some degree at least.

    The way of the monk and with discipline and that sort of thing.

  6. There were terns, gulls, a finch or two, a gold headed one and a red headed, and the ubiquitous chickadees.

    Some teenage girls with ass-revealing bikinis. Like sinfully revealing. They were all of 14 but rockin those asses like no tomorrow. Some nature preserve, eh?

  7. Pingback: Felicita | Reaction Times

  8. I don’t speak Italian. I speak Spanish, which helps me recognize a lot of the Italian words and follow the sentence structure. Didn’t help me on my one visit to Italy, though. A small town Ivrea in the north. Needed to take care of something at a local bank but none of the staff spoke English, until another customer helped interpret. I thought that I’d get by with Spanish in which I can converse, but no way. Spoken, live-time Italian was utterly incomprehensible to me. Would have been awesome to be there when Elk shouted “Freebird!”

  9. — These Italian songs are enjoyable on the same level. Why does their native pop seem so much more pure and wholesome than American or British pop? Not that French pop doesn’t have its degenerate elements. Maybe I’ve just given up on American music (now there’s a good song! Violent Femmes, mid-90s)

    Romance languages are perfect for those kinds of songs. Of course, the biggest factor is the audience. It’s a world of difference between virgin (male and female) and experienced young listeners.

    American pop music also has those pure expressions of virgin longing. Much of the 1950s love songs. The ’80s had a lot of that too from Debbie Gibson (“Lost in your eyes”, even the video), Bangles (“Eternal Flame”), as well as male bands. A lot of what we call ‘beta lyrics’ is really songs about a young teenager’s eagerness to permanently bond with a girl and the great unknown worlds that this entails.

    Everything else is cynical love songs. Music for the Experienced, for better or ill.

    The video I linked in the original post — the two teenagers, with the girl’s microphone malfunction. I don’t know anything about those performers, but the girl looks like a virgin. You can tell by her earnest gaze at her male partner. I remember that look.

    One natural arc of life is to bond with the first girl a boy falls in love with. Everybody remembers the intensity of those feelings.

    As Elk pointed to different dancing styles – Martial vs Booty – that applies to male dancing. With female dancing, the natural movement of White women is to lure, entice, make the man’s imagination burn wildly. The woman sways, hides, reveals just a little.

    Black female dancing, judging by the style that they prefer in modern pop expressions when unshackled from European cultural norms — is a straightforward promise of fucking. To not be vulgar or dismissive of it, you can call it Fertility Display.

  10. I’ve been listening to the 1950’s station on Sirius lately. Some of the songs too contrived, but a lot of them have a sweetness that you don’t see much in pop culture today.

  11. One of the purest song of the ’50s is Bobby Vinton’s “Roses are Red.”

    Vinton is 83 now, still gives concerts in the Sarasota area where he lives. Old school Pennsylvania borscht-belt crooner. Best known for “Blue Velvet”

  12. “Roses are Red” features prominently in the section of Goodfellas where Henry Hill is courting his future wife, Karen. The moment that really seals the deal is when Bobby Vinton personally sends the couple a bottle of Dom Pérignon while they are watching him perform. The actor who plays Vinton is his son, Robbie. It starts at 03:02 in the linked video.

    I had previously assumed that Vinton, like so many other crooners, is Italian American. But he is in fact, Polish/Lithuanian.

  13. Speaking of 1950s music, this is the official song of juvenile delinquents and pool hall brawls:

  14. PS – In case you ever wonder where Kurt Cobain got the idea for the main riff of the Nirvana song “Breed,” just look up Link Wray’s “Run Chicken Run!’

  15. — “Roses are Red” features prominently in the section of Goodfellas where Henry Hill is courting his future wife, Karen.

    Great clip, thanks Lothar.

  16. Cheers, PA.

    While we are on the subject of the 1950s, here’s the first rock ‘n roll song of all time, “Rocket 88,” by Ike Turner. According to legend, one of his band members was unloading an amplifier from the car and dropped it, knocking a tube loose. The resulting distorted sound was pleasing to the ear, and they decided to record it that way. Recorded, of course, in Memphis, TN, the home of the Blues and the birthplace of Rock “n Roll.

    I know there other guitar players here. Nowadays there is so much tech simulation that there is no need to mess with a real deal tube amp. But there is a beautiful, primal feeling when playing an overheated tube amp turned up to 11. An old Fender Champ is a good choice for this if you don’t live out in the middle of the country or desert. And if you do you can splurge on a nice Marshall Plexi…

  17. But my personal favourite old school rock band is the Sonics, from Seattle, Wa:

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