Hailu Mergia’s career was reignited by the 2013 Awesome Tapes From Africa reissue of his LP Hailu Mergia And His Classical Instrument (Shemonmuanaye). The Ethiopian jazz mainstay had made this record in the mid-1980’s with a few keyboards, a drum machine and most importantly an accordion. A hit in his homeland, Mergia saw little of the album’s success - he was living, and still lives, in the U.S.A. when Shemonmuanaye was released. However, the response to ATFA’s re-release of the LP has been so big that Mergia is now back touring and recording new music again (see his excellent 2017 LP Lala Belu). You’ll not hear much like Shemonmuanaye, mind - the combination of pitter-patter drums, jazz-funk keys and slippery accordion is highly unusual and very charming.
- Vinyl Double LP (ATFA006LP)