Audio

Hailu Mergia’s 1978 Ethiopian Soul & Funk Album Gets The Vinyl Treatment

Awesome Tapes From Africa unearths the vintage Ethiopian sounds of Hailu Mergia and Dahlak Band with the reissue of "Wede Harer Guzo."


Legendary Ethiopian keyboardist, accordion player and composer Hailu Mergia had his band’s collection of Ethiopian songbook classics, Wede Harer Guzo, hidden in his closet for 30 years before it was finally unearthed a few years back. Now, the 1978 cassette is getting the vinyl treatment courtesy of the the folks at Awesome Tapes From Africa.

The Dahlak Band’s unique sound helped them reach new audiences during times of political instability in Ethiopia. " ‘Wede Harer Guzo’ (meaning ‘Journey to Harer,’ which is a town in Eastern Ethiopia) was recorded during a period of military-imposed curfews when clubs had to stay jamming until sunrise because people weren’t allowed on the streets at night” says Brian Shimkovitz of Awesome Tapes From Africa. Their unconventional sound appealed to younger listeners and offered an alternative to classic Ethio-Jazz.

The remastered version of Wede Harer Guzo drops on June 17, marking the first time that the album will be available on vinyl. Pre-order it here and listen to one of its featured tracks “Sintayehu” below. Haliu Mergia will continue his world tour this summer with stops in Brooklyn, Baltimore and at the Stolkholm Jazz Festival. Check out the dates underneath.

Hailu Mergia Tour Dates

June 18- Creative Alliance, Baltimore, MD 

July 1- Pioneer Works, Brooklyn, NY 

October 10- Stockholm Jazz Festival 

Interview

Interview: TOBi Is Making Unapologetic Soul Music

We talk to the Nigerian-Canadian artist about his latest project ELEMENTS, his creative process, mental health and more.

It's a big year for music, and in the midst of many good drops from the motherland and beyond, we caught up with Nigerian-Canadian singer/songwriter TOBi to discuss his recently released 10-track project ELEMENTS.

ELEMENTS is a fusion of old-school soul, contemporary rap sequences, clever lyrical symbols & metaphors. and melancholic vibes which reference TOBi's Nigerian heritage through afrobeats, the reality of his life and the state of the world today. The compilation features production from Nigerian producer Juls on "Dollas and Cents" and "Made Me Everything and Shine."

Below, we also discuss his creative process and passion for mental health with the announcement of an exciting collaboration. "I'm attracted and curious about so many things in life that I can't help but bring [them] into my world and craft," the multi-genre artist says.

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