Shiuwen Tai and Jake Knapp are partway through the process of creating a wonderful full-length documentary on the producers of Dong Ding Oolong in Taiwan. They will be going back to Taiwan next month to shoot more footage and do more research, but here is a short film of some of the content they have already created. The film grants us the rare opportunity to hear about this exceptional tea in the producers’ own voices.
If you are at all connected to the fabulous worldwide network of tea people online you already know about the crowdfunding initiative for Tea Journey Magazine. As of today, the ambitious funding goal has been met, link with more than 500 people from all over the world contributing to the Kickstarter campaign. The publication is now assured of its launch and the funding campaign is in the final couple of days, but if you have not already pledged to the project, or if you are just now hearing about it, you can still add your support at whatever level feels comfortable to you and become a charter subscriber.
Tea Journey represents a new approach to writing about tea, with focus on the value of information at origin and displaying a truly international approach to tea and tea culture. It is exciting to see this caliber of writing, photography, and video becoming available through the labors of a very dedicated team of tea people under the experienced and passionate leadership of Dan Bolton. From the Tea Journey website:
“Tea Journey believes that the most authoritative content originates in the tea lands. That is why the magazine recruited top journalists, tea experts, translators and publishers in the tea lands to contribute a third of the publication’s content. Tea Journey identifies the best articles found in Mandarin, Cantonese, Korean and Japanese publications. The staff then retells these stories in nuanced English.”
Explore the content that is already available on the website, and expect ongoing delivery of rich content from this new publication. An example of the kind of material we can expect:
After encountering an article on the band Tinariwen, I went searching for some additional information on them. Their music is a distinctive blend of multiple traditions, including those of the members’ own Tuareg culture from Mali.
As I browsed the names of the songs for which there were videos, one title caught my eye: “Iswegh Attay,” which I suspected meant something to do with “tea” since I knew that the Moroccan Arabic word for tea is “Atay” (اتاي). As I began to watch, I was pleased to discover a beautiful film of a man brewing and serving tea in the traditional manner of the Tuareg nomads. This way of tea is similar among many of the desert cultures of Western and Northern Africa. It differs from the Moroccan tradition in its absence of fresh mint and use of much plainer, rustic tea wares.
TINARIWEN’S OWN STORY BURGEONS WITH MYTH AND MYTHOS IN THEIR HOME COUNTRY AND BEYOND. THEIR TALE IS THE STUFF OF LEGENDS. FOUNDING MEMBER IBRAHIM AG ALHABIB, GREW UP IN DESOLATION IN MALI, WHERE HE WITNESSED HIS OWN FATHER’S DEATH AT THE AGE OF FOUR. LATER, AFTER SEEING A WESTERN FILM, HE BUILT HIS FIRST GUITAR FROM A BICYCLE WIRE, A STICK AND A TIN CAN. THE BAND WAS FOUNDED IN THE 1980’S IN TUREG CAMPS IN LIBYA, WHERE THE NOMADIC PEOPLES HAD RELOCATED TO FIND WORK AND A NEW LIFE AWAY FROM THEIR HOMELAND OF THE SAHARA. DISILLUSIONED BY THE PROMISES OF QUADDAFI AT THE TIME, THE TUAREG BECAME RESTLESS AGAIN AND LONGED FOR HOME. BUT THE INTERACTION WITH CITY LIFE YIELDED UNEXPECTED CONSEQUENCES, THE BECAME EXPOSED TO WESTERN MUSIC — MOST NOTABLY THE GUITAR-DRIVEN ANTHEMS OF JIMI HENDRIX AND THE AMERICAN BLUES — WHICH THEY MIXED WITH THEIR OWN SOULFUL DIRGES WHICH THEY’D PERFORM IN THE CAMPS BY THE FIRE WITH BATTERY-OPERATED AMPS.
One translated line of the song: “I drank a glass of tea that scorched my heart.”