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.
CD £11.49 ATFA021CD
CD on Awesome Tapes From Africa.
Vinyl Double LP £20.99 ATFA021LP
2LP on Awesome Tapes From Africa.
I present to you our favourite record to play in the office literally 100% of the time, but I’d also like to stress I’m not mad about it. ‘Wede Harer Guzo’ is a gorgeously chilled pop contemplation that both recycles and rejuvenates its best moments, and it proves Hailu Mergia the master of making light pop music. Hailu Mergia initially released ‘Wede Harer Guzo’ no further than Ethiopia, where he made the record with Dhalak Band -- together they were able to mine a gorgeous combination of slow-burning, jam-heavy instrumentals and poignant vocal melodies that filled in the gaps in the piece’s structureless dance vibe.
What results is a record that both grooves and meanders -- those basslines will bury themselves inside your ears and stay there for a very, very long time, while long keyboard solos and soft guitar instrumentals tail take the pieces faraway from their starting point without ever leaving -- “Embuwa Bey Lamitu” lays down that structure immediately, while the high-pitched and grain-affected lead melody of “Mgimbia Moltual” juxtaposes the soft, R&B groove that’s keeping it in place.
Though hearing these longform jams shake off shape, it’s also worth noting that Mergia has a knack for making indelible hooks -- the one driving “Wede Harer Guzo” is a beacon of light, and it combines beautifully with a vocal harmony equally as affecting. It’s absolutely lovely, as is this whole sound, as is this whole record.
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- Wede Harer Guzo by Hailu Mergia & Dahlak Band
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