Music | ‘Kwass Meda,’ a soccer field ‘where we will be joyous’

One Ethiopia (2000)

At the conclusion of the 2008 African Cup of Nations, we offer a new translation of Ejigayehu Shibabaw‘s, or Gigi‘s, song “Kwass Meda” (Soccer Field). The song features on the 2000 release One Ethiopia, with the translation from Amharic by Solomon Abebe and his nephew, Befekadu.

As a note to the translation, Solomon Abebe, associate professor of education at Taylor University, Indiana, writes that Gigi’s frequent exclamation “Yaho” provides joyous affirmation, in the manner of conversation partners. “When you are talking to someone exchanging ideas, for every sentence that you make the person will utter ‘eehm’ or ‘yes’ or ‘ya’ indicating the person is actively listening to you. The word ‘Yaho’ is used in that sense, except it is celebratory and joyous.”


Soccer field (3x)

Soccer field & play

Habesha person, my countryman where I could see

Those who were lost would be found

Those who longed will find each other.

Gathered all Habesha, Yaho

They all congregate, Yaho

Let us join soccer field, where we celebrate, Yaho

Let us join soccer field, where we will be joyous, Yaho

Let us join soccer field, where we all show off, Yaho

Let us join soccer field

Audience, the game is about to start.

The referees are on the field,

Players are in their respective positions

Supporters are chanting for their teams

It is about to start, It has started.

Repeat chorus 2x

They all assemble from different places

Let’s all put our Sunday best on and show up.

One searching for the other, Yaho

Running and pushing crowd, Yaho

Those who longed, Yaho

Crying with embrace, Yaho

Soon and in laughter, Yaho

Resort back to crying, Yaho

There she is, Yaho

There he is, Yaho

Looking in the crowd, Yaho

Around the stadium, Yaho

Vertically, Yaho, Horizontally, Yaho

Let us search who all are present (2x)

San Francisco’s, Yaho

Atlanta’s, Yaho, D.C.’s Yaho, L.A.’s Yaho,

Dallas’ Yaho, Texas’ Yaho, the South’s Yaho,

The East’s Yaho, The West’s Yaho

I wouldn’t want to be you [the ball] Yaho.

Who Yaho would score you Yaho

Who? Yaho would be engaged Yaho

Who is going to score Yaho

The war at the Congo Yaho, Your property didn’t resemble the score

The goal kick chest-trapped by number 8, passed to number 10

Number 10 moved lateral then passed to number 9

9 dribbled forward and gave it back to 8

8 gave it back to 9 again

9 again dribbled it and passed it to number 10, and 10 aimed, kicked,

at the goal

Bravo goalier, the goalie has it

They pass the ball to each other, Yaho,

And finally kick to the goal, Yaho,

The flying goalie, Yaho,

Pick it off the air, Yaho,

The referee’s whistle, Yaho, the spectators’ noise

Exuberation Yaho, the joy, Yaho, the memory, Yaho

And the fun Yaho (repeat 2x)

The return kick by number 5, reached the wing number 7

7 dribbled forward and crossed to the goal.

9 received but lost, 10 got it back.

10 maneuvered forward then kicked!

Oh my! Hard kick. The goal shook. Oh my!


What a game, oh game, what a game!

D.C. proved it, what a game. Dallas proved it!

What a game Texas what a game!

What a game Canada proved it what a game!

What a game the North proved it what a game!

What a game the South proved it what a game!

What a game the East proved it what a game!

What a game the West proved it what a game!

—Translated from the Amharic by Solomon and Befekadu Abebe. Copyright © 2007. All rights reserved.

2 comments on this post.
  1. mehret:

    It is very good work and gives a sense for all who really like to play in “Kwass Meda.”

  2. Million:

    At the outset let me first thank you both for taking me back to those wonderful Sunday afternoons at the Addis Ababa Stadium. I just missed my favorite team EELPA somewhere in poem, but other than that it was excellent. Well done Abi and Gash Solomon.

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