Read the text while you run the first music video, then watch the second video to get more information about the coffee ceremony.
ትጥጣለህ ወይ ቡና – Would you like to drink some coffee? was produced in collaboration with Melkamu Meaza aka DeepAbyssinia to whom I am so grateful for revealing the art of ‘collaboration’ on the fringes of a world of music. He is a brilliant teacher, deeply talented, and a friend who has inspired my digital artwork in the ‘Nightingale’ theme. The subtitles of his cleverly crafted YouTube video describe Ethiopia’s coffee ceremony fluently and the recent YouTube link (displayed first, above) offers what may be his final mastered version of the sung poetry ትጥጣለህ ወይ ቡና – Would you like to drink some coffee?
The poem romanticizes the ancient and famously celebrated Ethiopian coffee preparation and drinking ceremony. It is drawn out through a series of events, but crucially gathering a crowd intending to socialize. The burning fragrance of frankincense and myrrh mingled with the aroma of roasting coffee fills the venue with misty smoke. The ceremony creates a unique and memorable ambiance often cited in cultural literature and music.
This poem strays away from the conventional discourse and presents the olfactory powers of coffee, frankincense and myrrh by provocatively delving into deeper levels of socialization and intimacy. I have made an effort to translate the Amharic original into English – a deep learning curve and an ongoing challenge to do this perfectly; so grateful for Betty Attfield’s critique which has lifted the quality and standard of translation immensely.
Frankincense Chasing Myrrh
Would you like a cup of coffee?
A pure taste of jebena brew?
Perhaps fate has deprived you of café noir
Your heart having fled heat, tempestuous.
Frankincense makes a sudden appearance
Myrrh vanishes abruptly.
Noble coffee, clay pot elixir
A sip to chase your troubles away.
Women infusing within secrets
Men yearning for heartfelt love
Ancient sages and admirers
Myrrh, Frankincense and Coffee suppliers;
May have forewarned but we failed to see
That thoughts can be stolen
And dreams can be snatched
To the popping sounds of roasting coffee beans.
Inhale the fragrance, listen to it speak;
Taste me as you take that first sip.
If your heart starts pounding like a Sunday drum,
Euphoria intoxicates you like a merkana
Allow me to invite you to Abol, Tona, Bereka.
Let us sip hot coffee poured from the jebena
Gazing at the lean smoke of Myrrh
Entangling with Frankincense aroma.