One of the most popular Indonesian rock bands from the 1970s, Last Child, are back after a long hiatus with their first single in the last 20 years, Chordtela Duka (Distant Heartache).
Released in late May 2016, the song has been topping iTunes charts ever since and cemented itself as one of the top songs of the year. So what exactly does Chordtela Duka mean? The answer to this question and much more about Last Child and Chordtela Duka can be found below!
Last Child is a band from Accra, Ghana. Formed in 2010, they released their first album Hene Hene the following year. Despite the name of the song meaning woman woman, it became well known as an anti-domestic violence anthem in its country of origin with lyrics advocating for peace within marriages. Released this month, Chordtela Duka touches on similar themes of maintaining love when times are hard.
chordtela duka by last child tells the story of an African family’s struggle. The song begins with a boy recalling that his father would always tell him stories about the trees he planted as a little boy in his village back in Congo.
Then, a voice breaks into the song saying: don’t let the plants dry out. Suddenly, gunshots are heard and we see police officers seizing their furniture (a recurring motif) before they take them away. He recounts later in the song that they had become refugees since there was no money to be made back home with so many immigrants out-competing them for work.
Meaning of the Lyric Lines
This song, in particular, sings about how hope is the only thing that can break cycles of poverty. The refrain chordtela duka means to offer something.
Duka is an Amharic word meaning work or labor in trade for a reward. But hope, specifically offered to someone with nothing, has the potential to lift them out of their situation. That’s why this song rings so true: you may never change anything until you’re willing to start at the most basic level. This person will take the words that were meant for them as a lifeboat, without fail.