"Tea In The Sahara" as written by and Gordon Matthew Sumner....
My sisters and I
Have one wish before we die
And it may sound strange
As if our minds are deranged
Please don't ask us why
Beneath the sheltering sky
We have this strange obsession
You have the means in your possession

Tea in the Sahara with you
Tea in the Sahara with you

The young man agreed
He would satisfy their need
So they danced for his pleasure
With a joy you could not measure
They would wait for him here
The same place every year
Beneath the sheltering sky
Across the desert he would fly

Tea in the Sahara with you
Tea in the Sahara with you
Tea in the Sahara with you
Tea in the Sahara with you

The sky turned to black
Would he ever come back?
They would climb a high dune
They would pray to the moon
But he'd never return
So the sisters would burn
As their eyes searched the land
With their cups full of sand

Tea in the Sahara with you
Tea in the Sahara with you
Tea in the Sahara with you
Tea in the Sahara with you

Lyrics submitted by Demau Senae

"Tea in the Sahara" as written by Gordon Sumner

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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Tea In The Sahara song meanings
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  • +1
    General CommentThe novel "Sheltering Sky" has a chapter called "Tea in the Sahara". This song is called "Tea in the Sahara" and has a line mentioning "the sheltering sky". The story in these lyrics does not correspond to the major plot arcs of the book, but to a story within the story, taking a small portion of the book. This link explains it quite well:

    rikdadon September 12, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentTo me, the song is about a woman, or women, in WW2 who lost their husband(s) in the Africa campaign. Some cues in the lyrics lead me to believe that they were airmen, probably British (English band remember), who were lost somewhere over North Africa during WW2 and never found. The women are pining for just one more "tea", one more chance to be with their love(s) before they themselves pass.

    Dunno who the young man in the song is, perhaps an angel or the devil. In any event, the last bit of the song makes it clear they never get their wish. Rather sad.
    subierexon December 28, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commenthaunting but mad song! but what does it mean???
    Ninon November 27, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentNin, I think this is just one of those little story songs. It is haunting though..i sing it to my self all the time.....does that make me mad????? yep
    Tapies24on February 15, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthe live version is UNBELIEVABLE, the feeling they created live had no comparison. it's a shame I'll never see them up on the stage...
    Tepeson July 12, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI read that this sing is based on a book called "the sheltering sky" or something
    sockson December 21, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentWhat a wickedly brilliant song. Their best, in my opinion. I'm going to get my band to do this one, along with Murder By Numbers. As to what the lyrics mean....

    I have always assumed it is about man and nature, in a Stephen Crane/naturalistic sort of way. What I mean is, I think Sting is saying that nature has no obligation to conform to the fickle, meaningless (in the whole scheme of things) needs and wants of man. The things we humans desire in life, if you think about it, are really quite strange when you analyze the world and the universe on the appropriate scale; the things we ask of nature or whatever higher power we believe in are as bizarre as expecting to be granted tea in the Sahara.... And if we do ask, we should not be surprised that we're not always granted tea, that our cups will often fill only with sand....

    There are religious implications here as well, as hinted above. The sisters are praying, dancing, looking to the sky... it's a lot like a religious ritual. In this interpretation, the "he" the sisters are waiting for is God. They've prayed and done their part, follwed the rules and the ritual, and they have faith... but too much faith, Sting implies, because they're left stranded in the Desert with (again) cups full of sand, not tea. "He" didn't come through for them.

    Those are my thoughts anyway.

    As to the live version Tepes mentions... yes, it has a completely different feel to it. Stewart lays the emphasis on an off beat eighth note, not on four as in the studio version, and it completely changes the character of the music. The studio version feels more spacious and settled, while the live version has more of a quirky kind of forward momentum to it.
    scottp118on February 25, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Comment[Stephen Holden—Rolling Stone 1983] "Tea in the Sahara," Synchronicity's moodiest, most tantalizing song, is an aural mirage that brings back the birdcalls and jungle sounds of earlier songs as whispering, ghostly instrumental voices. In this haunting parable of endless, unappeasable desire, Sting tells the story, inspired by the Paul Bowles novel The Sheltering Sky, of a brother and two sisters who develop an insatiable craving for tea in the desert. After sealing a bargain with a mysterious young man, they wait on a dune for his return, but he never appears. The song suggests many interpretations: England dreaming of its lost empire, mankind longing for God, and Sting himself pining for an oasis of romantic peace.
    And that is where this bleak, brilliant safari into Sting's heart and soul finally deposits us–at the edge of a desert, searching skyward, our cups full of sand. (RS 398)
    sillybunnyon September 22, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Comment'Tea In The Sahara'. Moody schlock? Hmm, if the entire album were filled with such stuff (see some of the Stingman's solo records), I'd probably be worried. But I'm not, and I'm perfectly happy with Sting's little mystical tale, especially its creepy end.
    [George Starostin]
    sillybunnyon September 28, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentBeautiful. The sort of songs that will help you driffed of to sleep
    thrashgrunge4lifeon September 03, 2012   Link

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