Shemonmuanaye (2LP)

Sale price$25.00



Format: 2LP 
Label: Awesome Tapes From Africa 
Year: 2013 

Media Condition: New 
Sleeve/Cover Condition: New 


A1 Shemonmuanaye
A2 Sewnetuwa

B1 Laloye
B2 Wegene
B3 Hari Meru Meru

C1 Amrew Demkew
C2 Anchin Alay Alegn
C3 Ambasel

D1 Hebo Lale
D2 Belew Beduby
D3 Shilela

Originally released in 1985.

In 1985 master accordionist and legendary Ethiopian bandleader/arranger/keyboardist Hailu Mergia released "Shemonmuanaye" as a private-label cassette. It was Mergia's first recording since emigrating from Ethiopia to the DC area in the early 1980's, and last before settling into a life of relative anonymity as a local airport cab driver.

In a nostalgic effort to bring back the vintage accordion sound of his youth, Mergia gave Ethiopian music a sonic makeover. Mergia was already celebrated for his work with the groundbreaking, industry-shifting Addis Ababa ethio-jazz and funk outfit the Walias Band, he pressed forward using new tools to reimagine the popular sounds of the past.

Adding a Moog synthesizer, Rhodes electric piano and rhythm machine, to the rich harmonic layering of his accordion, he created elegantly arranged, hauntingly psychedelic instrumentals. These songs draw from famous traditional and modern Ethiopian songs, as Mergia brilliantly matches Amhara, Tigrinya and Oromo melodies to otherworldly flavors soaked in jazz and blues, synthesizing a lush, futuristic landscape.

It would be 15 years before Mergia's next recorded release, and another 20 years after that that Mergia would release"Lala Belu", his brilliant 2018 return to regular gigging and recording, and re-birth as a purveyor of mesmerizing contemporary jazz.

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