Hailu Mergia and the Walias, “Tche Belew”

When Brian Shimkovitz reissued Hailu Mergia and His Classical Instrument on his Awesome Tapes From Africa label last year, the Ethiopian keyboard legend was driving a taxi in Washington, D.C., where he’d exiled himself during a mid-’80s tour.

Hailu-Mergia-and-the-Walias-Tche-BelewWhen Brian Shimkovitz reissued Hailu Mergia and His Classical Instrument on his Awesome Tapes From Africa label last year, the Ethiopian keyboard legend was driving a taxi in Washington, D.C., where he’d exiled himself during a mid-’80s tour. But Awesome’s reissue of his 1985 cassette revived Mergia’s career, and he’s gigging again with a new young band.

While Classical Instrument is a solo marvel of minimalist funk produced in the U.S., Tche Belew is a long-lost Ethiopian instrumental classic capturing Mergia and his longtime sextet — augmented by special guest Mulatu Astatke on vibes and percussion — in their prime. Read more at WonderingSound.com …

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