Before last summer, probably very few Americans knew the name of Hailu Mergia, a keyboardist and accordion player who struggled to revive his successful music career when he moved from Ethiopia to the D.C. area in the 1980s. But not long after Brian Shimkovitz found some of Mergia's old music and reissued it on his [...]
Posts Tagged ‘Awesome Tapes From Africa’
In the 1970s, keyboard player Hailu Mergia performed in one of Ethiopia's best-known jazz/funk ensembles, Walias Band. But after a tour of the United States, Mergia decided to settle down permanently in the D.C. area in 1981, and he (mostly) left his old band behind. Here, he played with another outfit, Zula Band, with some of his [...]
Hailu Mergia spends six days a week driving a Washington Flyer cab to and from Dulles Airport. He’s been driving a taxi for more than 10 years. His customers probably don't realize the cabbie was once one of Ethiopia's most popular keys players.
Next week, the blog-turned-record label Awesome Tapes From Africa will reissue an album [...]
Cassette tapes are not particularly DJ-friendly. Tracks aren’t easily separated, and, well, tapes aren’t really the go-to medium these days. But Brian Shimkovitz, founder of the blog Awesome Tapes From Africa and a new record label, is undaunted. The ethnomusicologist-cum-DJ, who picked up many of his tapes while researching on a Fulbright grant in Ghana, [...]