Yene Mircha (LP)

Sale price$18.50



Format: LP
Label: Awesome Tapes From Africa
Year: 2020

Media Condition: New
Sleeve/Cover Condition: New


A1 Semen Ena Debub
A2 Yene Mircha
A3 Bayine Lay Yihedal

B1 Abichu Nega Nega
B2 Yene Abeba
B3 Shemendefer


Bass – Alemseged Kebede
Drums – Kenneth Joseph
Keyboards, Accordion, Melodica, Vocals – Hailu Mergia
Mesenqo - Setegn Atenaw
Vocals - Tsehay Kassa
Saxophone - Moghes Habte

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Hailu Mergia was at the forefront of the musical revolution during an era where modern instruments and foreign styles superseded the traditional fare to become the staple sound of Ethiopia.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

Yene Mircha, recorded at Cue Studios in Falls Church, VA, has a small jazz combo at its nucleus like its predecessor. But in a return to Mergia's Ethiopian roots, it features a bigger, more electrically-energetic sound thanks to guest performances from other Ethiopian stars, including saxophonist Moghes Habte from the original Walias Band. It reflects Mergia's return to the live performance stage in recent years, in its relentless adventurism and urgency.

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.

You may also like