We're very excited to have electronic-ethiojazz pioneer Hailu Mergia join us for an intimate broadcast. Having been a major star in Ethiopia during the 1970s with his ensemble the Walias Band and playing with luminaries like Manu Dibango and Duke Ellington, Mergia relocated to Washington D.C. in 1981 to escape the country's Mengistu regime. Since then Mergia has spent most of his time as a taxi driver, continuing to write and record music but only performing privately.
Enter Brian Shimkovitz, the man behind the blog and label Awesome Tapes from Africa
, who found the album Hailu Mergia & His Classical Instrument
on tape while on a trip to Addis Ababa. Shimkovitz went about tracking down Mergia and in 2013 Awesome Tapes from Africa reissued Hailu Mergia & His Classical Instrument
, leading to a number of international tours and follow up reissues. Accompanying him for this performance is Lotto's Mike Majkowski on double bass with Poland's most hotly tipped young percussionist Paweł Szpura on drums.
Also joining us on the night are London-via-Addis outfit Krar Collective
. Their unique take on Ethiopian instrumentation and traditional music has lead them to collaborate with the likes of Damon Albarn & his Africa Express project and bring their body-moving live show to Europe and the United States.
Kicking off the afternoon's broadcast are London-based selectors Afrobuddha whose Spirit Frequencies show on NTS
is a must hear for any fan of all types of African music and Lo-Fi Odysseys
- the man behind the fantastic Palm Wine Beats