A Swahili song from the East African coast. It is one of the songs attributed to Liyongo, the Swahili national hero. The ‘tapster’ is the man who taps the palm tree for palm wine.
Muscadet is a kind of European wine. Like other peoms associated with Liyongo, the Drinking Song arises from the rich culture of the East African coast with its centuries of trading with the East and with Europe.
O tapster, give me the palm-wine
With the bitter flavour from the coconut palm;
Draw for me also wine from the cask
Which was tapped by my own tapster.
Draw for me too wine from the bottle
Which was brought by the Europeans;
And draw for me wine from the earthen jar,
Hot-mulled and dregged of its lees.
When raising the glass I stand by the table
Demanding my wine of muscadet,
Muscadet that gives us the strength of men,
That effervesces inside us;
Muscadet hanging in a flask on a peg
Where the royal trumpet hangs and the war-horns,
Where the royal drums hang
And the spears, the spears of battle
from Oral Poetry from Africa 1984
compiled by Jack Mapanje and Landeg White,