Hailu Mergia is back! After almost fading into obscurity, the Ethiopian keyboard luminary triumphantly returns with his first new album in 20 years. Despite some fame in his native Ethiopia, Mergia spent the greater part of the last two decades in the Washington area, where he drove a taxi with his keyboard in the trunk. He would break it out on off hours to improvise, which has obviously kept his skills sharp as he never stopped writing. Hailu Mergia was brought back into the spotlight in recent years through the interest of digger circles and reissues of his 70's and 80's material via Awesome Tapes From Africa (who also put this out). Lala Belu is not only a return to form for Mergia, but also a second chance. This will be the first album from the keyboard maestro to be aimed at a global audience (not just Ethiopia), and with some luck, hopefully more will get to experience and enjoy Hailu's wonderful music. This is the 2018 pressing, complete with download code.
- digital download included
- music label: Awesome Tapes From Africa 2018
reviewed by XXL Bao 05/2018