I believe the title of this track-of-the-week, Te Acheres, is in the Ethiopian Amharic language1. Unfortunately, I have not been able to work out what it means. The Web does have the lyrics of the song and Google Translate will give a literal translation of them – but it refuses to decipher the title. And yet, if you listen, whether you know any Amharic or not, you will be in no doubt that the song was born of an aching heart.
This is the latest in the Hubzilla Recommends series. The video was made to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the birth of Armenian poet Silva Kaputikya. One of Kaputikya’s poems was translated into Amharic by the Ethiopian singer and actress, Zeritu Kebede. Here, Kebede is joined by another Ethiopian singer, Vahe Tilbian, and they are accompanied by two acoustic guitarists.
Te Acheres is a song about obsession. When your eyes crave only to see your loved one, why look at anything else? When the only word on your lips is your beloved’s name, what is there to say? While the singers ask those questions the smooth, rich tones of the guitars can only acknowledge the hopelessness of your obsessive fascination.
Taking another suggestion from my Hubzilla feed is not entirely coincidental. There is a somewhat similar project called Solid that has grabbed my attention recently. The two projects are alike in that they both support a network of nodes with a single sign-in mechanism and both take privacy and security extremely seriously. In both cases, too, these nodes provide a space for the storage of personal data and support social networking. Hubzilla is provided by an ad hoc community of open-source software developers; Solid is being developed by a team within the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) led by the inventor of the Web, Tim Berners-Lee.
The level of expertise behind Solid is impressive, but the key feature that has prompted me to look into it is that it is built on the international, open standards defined for the Semantic Web. Wide adoption of the Semantic Web is predicted to transform society in interesting and useful ways. It is, its proponents say, the future of the Web.
Few sites today use the Semantic Web standards (Wikipedia says 4 million out of 250 million Web domains). Conforming applications are sparse and immature. I have set up a personal Solid Pod but I have struggled to do anything very much with it (other than generating cryptic error messages). For now, Hubzilla is much more useful to me than Solid. But that may change as I learn about the underlying technologies and the Solid ecosystem evolves. It’s not an obsession yet, but it is looking more attractive day by day.
- Wikipedia says: “The Amharic language [may have] originated as [the] result of a pidginization process with a Cushitic substratum and a Semitic superstratum to enable communication between people who spoke a mix of different languages. The language serves as the working language of Ethiopia …”
The original Hubzilla poster has provided this comment:
Actually the man is singing in Armenian and the woman is singing in the Ethiopian language.
The title, Te Acheres, is phonetically Armenian spelling for Western Armenians. The Armenian alphabet is an Indo-European language. It means, YOUR EYES, in Armenian.