Today we’re listening to Hailu Mergia, an Ethiopian keyboardist and accordionist. This is our second time recommending him. In the ‘70s, Mergia co-founded The Walias, a band that broke new ground in the Addis Ababa scene by incorporating funk influences, opening their own recording studio, and touring abroad. They recorded many instrumental albums which until recently were difficult to access. Their instrumental LP from 1975, Tezeta, was just made available on streaming in 2021 by the label Awesome Tapes From Africa. It’s a set of feel-good jams that fuse funk with traditional Ethiopian folk. We’re also playing The Walias’ mostly instrumental record Tche Belew, recorded in ‘77 and distributed by the aforementioned label in 2014.
Have a good Thursday.