Born in Debre Birhan, Showa Province, in 1946, Hailu Mergia is a master accordionist, veteran bandleader, arranger and keyboardist whose massive contribution to the jazz-funk sounds of Ethiopia spans over decades.
The keyboardist, army accordionist and synth pioneer spent three decades carving out a national reputation both as a solo artist and a member of groups like Addis Ababa funk outfit the Walias Band, putting out a stream of cassettes along the way, from synth-led Afro-funk to an Ethio-jazz masterpiece. Supporting bands like King Curtis, Junior Walker and Maceo Parker, Mergia also recorded a few albums of Ethiopian music with Mulatu Astake in the late 70’s.
Now, at the tender age of 71, Hailu Mergia has just released new album, Lala Belu and this 6-track record is the first material he has recorded and released in two decades! Taken from the album is Gum Gum, a cool and effortless instrumental track with smooth elegant keys, soulful jazz melodies and sharp-yet-understated percussion. Listen above.
Lala Belu released on the 9th March via Awesome Tapes From Africa.
Purchase your copy from here.