Articles

Daily articles carefully curated by the All About Jazz staff. Read our popular and future articles.

ALBUM REVIEW

Hailu Mergia: Yene Mircha

Read "Yene Mircha" reviewed by Chris May

While Mulatu Astatke is the musician most widely associated with the creation of Ethio-jazz, fellow keyboardist Hailu Mergia is among other significant figures. Astatke is best known overseas because he was the most outward looking of Ethio-jazz's first generation, studying at London's Trinity College of Music and Boston's Berklee College of Music and making his first records in New York in 1966. Mergia by comparison has always looked in the main to Ethiopian traditional music for vocabulary and form. In ...

ALBUM REVIEW

Hailu Mergia: Lala Belu

Read "Lala Belu" reviewed by Chris May

Mulatu Astatke is by a long chalk the most widely known exponent of Ethio-Jazz. Propelled on to the world stage by the soundtrack of Jim Jarmusch's 2005 movie, Broken Flowers, and subsequently picked up by record labels and festival bookers in Europe and the US, Astatke deserves all the acclaim that comes his way. But, curiously, his international breakthrough has not opened any big doors for other, comparably talented Ethiopian musicians. Prominent among those who are worth checking out is ...

ALBUM REVIEW

Hailu Mergia: Lala Belu

Read "Lala Belu" reviewed by Jakob Baekgaard

Sometimes a story comes full circle in the most unexpected way. Ethiopian keyboard and accordion maestro, Hailu Mergia, has enjoyed a well-deserved renaissance with the reissues of his classic albums on Brian Shimkovitz' label Awesome Tapes from Africa: Hailu Mergia & His Classical Instrument: Shemonmuanaye, Tche Belew and Wede Harer Guzo. However, Mergia has not been resting on his laurels. He has been on the road with his trio with drummer Tony Buck and bassist Mike Majkowski ...

ALBUM REVIEW

Hailu Mergia: Wede Harer Guzo

Read "Wede Harer Guzo" reviewed by Jakob Baekgaard

It is not long ago that Brian Shimkovitz could celebrate the 10 year anniversary of his blog, Awesome Tapes from Africa, where he has posted a steady stream of obscure, but beguiling records with eclectic African music originally released on cassette. The blog quickly grew into becoming a favorite of listeners around the world, and in 2011, it also became a record label. One of the most prominent artists on the label is Ethiopian accordionist and keyboard-player, ...

ALBUM REVIEW

Hailu Mergia and The Walias: Tche Belew

Read "Tche Belew" reviewed by Jakob Baekgaard

There is a musical moment of great significance in Jim Jarmusch's road movie Broken Flowers. The main character, Don, is going on a journey and has received a cassette with music. When he puts the cassette into the tape deck, the strange, deep and funky sounds of Ethiopian master Mulatu Astatke emerge from the speakers. Music like this has fascinated many listeners and the acclaimed series Ethiopiques, which has reached 29 volumes, speaks about the demand for Ethiopian sounds.


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