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Hailu Mergia Vinyl, CD & tapes by Hailu Mergia at Norman Records

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Hailu Mergia
Hailu Mergia & His Classical Instrument: Shemonmuanaye

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.

Hailu Mergia & The Walias
Tche Belew

This long-lost LP of cross-cultural soul-funk-infused Ethio-jazz instrumentals from 1977 is considered one of the most important recordings of the aftermath of the 1974 revolution. The Walias were formed in the early '70s in Addis Ababa by keyboardist and arranger Hailu Mergia, cutting a series of 45s with various singers as well as this entirely instrumental LP, one song of which was removed by government censors. Thanks in no small part to the iconic track 'Musicawi Silt', original copies have been changing hands for literally thousands of pounds, so it's great that Awesome Tapes From Africa are finally making these iconic recordings available to the more casual collector.

Hailu Mergia
Yegojam Marnesh / Yegle Nesh

Organist and keyboard player supreme Hailu Mergia could legitimately lay claim to the title Prince Funk of Ethiopia, should such a notion become reality. Swiftly following on from Lala Belu -- his first new LP in 15 years -- arrives this new 45rpm 7" on Awesome Tapes From Africa. The two tracks -- Yegojam Marnesh / Yegle Nash serve as a side dish to the main course of the album. Here, Mergia's trio explore their heavier side with sticksman Tony Buck and bassist Mike Majkowski excercising the full extent of their respective repertoires, licks and chops.

Hailu Mergia & Dahlak Band
Wede Harer Guzo

Hailu Mergia recorded Wede Harer Guzo with his Dahlak Band in Addis Ababa in 1978, during breaks from spreading wonderful party dancing among the hotels and clubs of the city. This is the very first time these recordings have been made commercially available outside of Ethiopia: celebrate! On Awesome Tapes From Africa.

Hailu Mergia
Lala Belu

This is Hailu Mergia’s first LP since the upswing in interest in his music over the past half-decade. The revival is down in large part to the re-release job Awesome Tapes From Africa have done on some of his old records, and as such it’s fitting that Lala Belu should surface on the label. Backed by Tony Buck and Mike Majkowski, the music of Lala Belu is a knotted, swaying hybrid of American and Ethiopian jazz stylings.

Hailu Mergia
Hailu / Yegle Nesh

Having been neglected for years, reissues of Hailu Mergia’s material have brought him back onto turntables. Hailu/Yegle Nesh shows why we’re glad he’s getting some reissue loving; afrofunk with some incredible percussion work and wonderful jazz melodies. Something really special here. 7” vinyl.

Hailu Mergia
Musicawi Silt / Tche Belew

Sick of reminiscing over the 1970s Ethiopian pop funk scene with 240p youtube videos? Well you’re damn right! Here’s an opportunity to acquire Hailu Mergia’s classic Musicawi Silt/Tche Belew as it was intended (but never released): on 7 inch vinyl! The beat just keeps going while the horns and solos show you beautiful mirages. Yes!