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. So impressive is this artist that at the tender age of 71, Hailu Mergia has just released his latest album, Lala Belu (read more about that on my post here)
Today’s song is taken from Hailu Mergia and the Walias’ highly acclaimed & very much sought after Tche Belew, which was originally released in 1977 against the backdrop of post-revolution Ethiopia. The album was groundbreaking and became collectible for many reasons and has been described as “an astounding merger of Ethiopian songs, elegant contemporary arrangements and “western” instrumentation. Completely sublime music from one of the seminal bands of a funk-laced era of Ethiojazz and soul.” (as described on ATFA’s website)
Four years ago LA’s Awesome Tapes From Africa re-released this instrumental jazz/groove masterpiece and I intend to track down a copy of this album for myself very soon! Eti Gual Blenai is a celebration of vibrant organs, embracing horns and intoxicating mellow beats..it’s truly an exhilarating listen and fills my heart with joy when I listen to it! Listen above and listen/purchase the whole album from here.