Hailu Mergia

April 16, 2020

Good morning.

Today we’re listening to Hailu Mergia, an Ethiopian jazz and funk keyboardist and accordionist. Mergia’s career began in the early ‘70s when he joined vibraphonist Mulatu Astatke’s Walias Band in Addis Ababa. The band fused traditional Ethiopian folk music with Western funk styles. On Mergia’s 1985 solo release, Hailu Mergia & His Classical Instrument, he records accordion and keyboard improvisations over drum machines. Its reissue in 2013 earned Mergia a cult following across the U.S. and inspired him to release a few more albums. We’re first playing his 2018 album Lala Belu, on which Mergia is joined by a full band and plays fun, jazzy songs influenced by his home country’s folk style.

Lala Belu by Hailu Mergia (40m, vocals on “Lala Belu” only) Spotify / Apple Music / YouTube Music / Google Play / Bandcamp / Tidal

Hailu Mergia & His Classical Instrument by Hailu Mergia (60m, occasional vocals) Spotify / Apple Music / YouTube Music / Google Play / Bandcamp / Tidal

Have a really nice Thursday.