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    Hailu Mergia

    the legendary ethio-jazz trio


    Mi 21

    November

    2018

    Einlass: 19:00

    Beginn: 20:00

    Beginning in 2013 with the reissue of his dreamy Hailu Mergia and His Classical Instrument

    followed by the enormous success of his seminal Ethio-jazz masterpiece Tche Belew and continuing with

    last year’s widely acclaimed Wede Harer Guzo, Mergia has received considerable accolades from listeners

    and press globally, including The New York Times, Pitchfork and The Wire. His old recordings are

    cherished revelations for Ethiopian music fans; however, Mergia’s return to the stage has been just as

    inspiring and electrifying.

    Mergia’s vintage recordings are known for an inherently mysterious and worn-in quality, while his new

    recordings echo his band’s 21st century live show with modern instrumental interpretations of crucial

    Ethiopian standards and Mergia’s own original compositions. Tony Buck (drums) and Mike Majkowski

    (bass), who have backed Mergia on tour throughout Europe and Australia, form the bass-drums trio on the

    recording. Having played venues from Radio City Music Hall and the Kennedy Center to jazz festivals,

    rock clubs and DIY spaces all over North America, Europe and Australia, Mergia and ATFA want to

    document this moment in his landmark career with a snapshot of his current sound.

    Mergia has a strong awareness of how much has changed for him since his last studio record, selfreleased

    in 2003: “It is a very historical album for me. And I am extremely excited. All of it feels like a

    big comeback. A different kind of audience, playing with a different kind of band and working with a

    different kind of record company. The album is very different from all the albums I did after I left

    Ethiopia.”

    The trio recorded the basic tracks in London in 2016 at EMS4 and Mergia completed them, adding

    overdubs and overseeing mixing in D.C. at Cue Studios with engineer Javon Gant. The album was

    mastered by Jessica Thompson, who has painstakingly excavated audio and remastered all Mergia’s

    recent reissues.

    Since he emigrated from Ethiopia and built a life in Washington, D.C. around 1981—where he remains

    working as an airport taxi driver when he is not on tour—Mergia’s career has followed a humble

    trajectory. He made a few recordings in America but they didn’t easily reach fans back home. He kept

    making music on his own and with friends but after the early 80’s his gigs in the U.S. mostly dried up. It

    wasn’t until he began working with Awesome Tapes From Africa and putting together bands with the help

    of booking agents and musicians in Europe and the U.S., that he was able to chart a new path. With a

    broad audience of young listeners in diverse venues and distant locales, at age 71, Mergia is enjoying his

    comeback and is not slowing down.

    About Awesome Tapes From Africa

    For more than ten years, Awesome Tapes From Africa has been spreading African music across the web

    by way of the ATFA blog. More recently, ATFA became a label and has been reissuing surprising music

    by legendary and left-field artists, with 50/50 profit-sharing deals and working toward finding overseas

    performance opportunities where possible.