May 19, 2017
DISCUSS: Habesha guys/gals are great for getting over being dumped/rejected by other tikur or other zega guys/gals, a controlled dose of them is the best remedy for ye-lib sibirat…
This is putting aside the fact that very often it is the habesha person who caused us too much heartbreak so we ended up running to persons of other backgrounds. But when the latter break our hearts and so on, we end up pining for the habesha who all of a sudden seem more ideal, who know the right things to say and do.
But the only habesha person who ‘hits the spot’ in that sense, really, is the man/woman in the habesha love songs, the ones singing that song we feel is being sung just for us.
That singer is the embodiment of the perfect habesha mate, who expresses true emotions, is vulnerable, can sing!, is sweet and romantic, just the right dose of erotic, etc. etc. No wonder people fall for singers (just like they do for actors, I guess, and writers, but it’s never as immediate as with singers).
Maybe one of the characters is a singer? An aspiring singer? Better at expressing self in lyrics than in conversation?
So in a sense, at some point, we began to ‘hear’ (there’s that ‘we’ again) the singers as speaking to us or for us. Whatever the lyrics ‘said’, we grew up expecting to be addressed in that way by future boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/wife (and this is before it occurred to us that we didn’t have to marry the first person we liked, or the second, or the third, etc.)
A part of you still hopes to hear those words. Not those words literally, of course, but the sentiment behind those words, or an approximation of those words. Talk about expecting a person to read your mind! Not only that, but to expect them to approximate, in sense or meaning, the lyrics of the love songs sung by the famous singers. You search for them in everything he/she says to you, ferret them out, cut and paste what he/she says to reach at a final thing, that was never said, that comes close. It’s another way of the heart never quite giving up that one day that habesha person will materialize (like the Prince Charming/Princess of fairy tales, except the honey-tongued shebela/it version!)
Research some key phrases from songs that stuck in her head, and she keeps wanting to hear, as impossible as it is. Example: that Mahmoud song ‘about the moon’, the opening lyrics to that.
Question is, do YOU ‘speak’ the way the singers sang, in your head or out loud? Hardly. You’re either too shy or it sounds way too foreign for your diaspora tongue. You don’t have that yene geta, yene emebet thing going on. Neither that or the hint of self-debasement, helplessness, that infuses a lot of lyrics.
There are also those Western songs that made their way to us somehow. How much of a feat it must have been for us to have gotten those VHSs of music videos and LPs. There was Madonna, Marvin Gaye, Michael Jackson. Smuggled in. Contraband.
We have plenty now. we have plenty of everything that used to be so rare and carefully controlled and cherished and precious (books, movies, songs, information, communication, etc.) but that one-on-one connection, that intimacy, remains elusive. No amount of modernity, improved quality of life, security, can solve that equation, whether you happen to be there or here.