Capping several successful years traveling the world performing to audiences big and small, Hailu Mergia released his first new album in over 15 years, Lala Belu, in March 2018. Lala Belu had been a long time coming and builds on Mergia’s remarkable career resurgence over the past few years.
Beginning in 2013 with the reissue of his dreamy Hailu Mergia and His Classical Instrument followed by the enormous success of his seminal Ethio-jazz masterpiece Tche Belew and continuing with 2016’s widely acclaimed Wede Harer Guzo, Mergia has received considerable accolades from listeners and press globally, including The New York Times, Pitchfork and The Wire. His old recordings are cherished revelations for Ethiopian music fans; however, Mergia’s return to the stage has been just as inspiring and electrifying.
Mergia’s vintage recordings are known for an inherently mysterious and worn-in quality, while his new recordings echo his band’s 21st century live show with modern instrumental interpretations of crucial Ethiopian standards and Mergia’s own original compositions.
Margia’s eventual work with Awesome Tapes From Africa introduced his music to a broad audience of young listeners in diverse venues and distant locales, at age 71, Mergia is enjoying his comeback and is not slowing down.