Lala Belu (LP)

Sale price$17.50



Format: LP
Label: Awesome Tapes From Africa
Year: 2018

Media Condition: New
Sleeve/Cover Condition: New


A1 Tizita
A2 Addis Nat
A3 Gum Gum

B1 Anchi Hoye Lene
B2 Lala Belu
B3 Yekfir Engurguro


Bass – Mike Majkowski
Drums – Tony Buck
Keyboards, Accordion, Melodica – Hailu Mergia

A trailblazing powerhouse of modern Ethiopian music, Hailu Mergia was at the forefront of the musical revolution during an era where modern instruments and foreign styles superseded the traditional fare to become the staple sound of Ethiopia.

In the latter half of the 1970s, Hailu Mergia was probably the most important figure in Ethiopian popular music. While his music was heavily used on state-controlled radio and television, he and his band operated independently of any government, studio, or concert hall while being a constant and in-demand presence in all of them.

Like so many of his compatriots both within and outside the musical community, Hailu Mergia emigrated from Ethiopia at the turn of the 1980's, and settled permanently in the DC area. He lived in relative anonymity, working primarily as a cab driver, performing and recording only sporadically until New York-based record label Awesome Tapes From Africa began re-issuing his classic Ethiopian records in the 2010's. In 2018 he recorded his first LP of new material in at least 20 years, Lala Belu, to wide acclaim, and followed up in 2020 with the Yene Mircha LP.

Lala Belu, recorded with a small combo in London and Falls Church, VA, is just stunning, and otherwise difficult to describe. If this was the record Hailu Mergia needed 20 years to make, it was worth it.

Hats off to ATFA for returning this one-of-a-kind pioneer to the studio, stage, and shop shelves. And what a spectacular addition to the musical life of the nation's capital.

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