"Ngato dwöt cengnge" ("The one who sits idly") - performed by Ochan Roman

Thoom player and singer Ochan Roman performed this song in Pinyudo in June 2017, accompanying himself on the thoom, or lyre. "Ngato dwöt cengnge" can be translated approximately, "The one who is sitting idly" but literally it means someone who is sitting with their hands crossed on their laps and not doing anything. According to Ochan, this song was composed in the 1980s, during Ethiopia's Communist government, to encourage people to work.


Ngato dwöt cengnge ni köö nee ngäätha kwac bung kare kany (2x)
A person who sits without working, expecting to beg from others, has no place here

Käla ruun ni gïn tïïë kiper dëërë bungö mo løny (2x)
It will take years, and they won’t succeed in doing anything for themselves

Käla kari ni jøw bwödhö ge ba tïm dëëtge tïmma wäätge
It is obvious that those who came before us were not working for themselves but for their children

Pwøc odööng re jøw lämmï noo odööng cään ni poot nywölï (2x)
Lucky is the coming generation that is not yet born

Cam jammi ki bunga acaara cam bäänyö duunö ki can (2x)
Consuming everything like the locusts will only bring poverty

Bee eni ni tïïc paani no odööng cään ni bung jammi (2x)
This is the reason why this country is still in poverty

Ngat ba cädö kiper tuung ge møøk mo lämmï ni poot nywøl yïi
Those who are not thinking about the next generation

Kare diiny ki yaa atutge cung yie bung køny ki tuung ge
They are worthless in their village, because they do not support their relatives

Credits and Bibliography

Ojho Othow Ojullu (transcription, translation, and coordination)
Apay Ojullu Aballa (translation)
John Omod (translation and coordination)