As I write this I am listening to a 16 minute “bootleg tape,” now a CD, of the concert Martin Benjamin and I performed on March 9, 1963 (49 years ago) in a talla bet (beer house) in the arada (market) of Gondar, Ethiopia.
Marty was the lead on the guitar and I just did my best to follow along. I doubt either of us would be described today as a couple of aging rockers. The flavor of the concert was Kingston Trio, aka “Gondar Duo.”
At the time talla was made by women and sold in their houses. Walking around the market I would observe the green gesho leaves drying on mats in front of the talla bets. The mats were also covered with a mixture of wheat and barley which was wetted and was allowed to sprout. The pounded gesho leaves and wheat/barley were then placed in large (5 gallon) clay jars filled with water where the mixture was allowed to ferment. The resulting beer had a taste somewhat like the smell of silage. However, having grown-up on a farm I was familiar with the smell and enjoyed the beer. We generally felt secure drinking what had been either boiled or fermented.