Words by Manal Aziz

After 15 years, a new jazz album by Hailu Mergia is to be released on Awesome Tapes From Africa on February 23rd, 2018.

The Ethiopian jazz album called Lala Belu is a long-awaited album after a series of LP reissues on ATFA. His 1985 Hailu Mergia & His Classical Instrument was remastered and made available in 2013. This remastering was followed by another highly acclaimed reissue in 2014: Tche Belew (1977).

Recorded in Kafia, Ethiopia, the album marks the aftermath of a politically complex period. Despite the repressive regime, the late ’70s knew a buzzing semi-underground scene. Unsurprisingly, this would become the womb of which Wede Harer Guzo (1978) was born. Recorded with Dahlak Band as a cassette-only, this 10-track album has been saved from distinction by Awesome Tapes From Africa after receiving the last (known to be) existing copy of this inimitable album.

It’s safe to say previous releases have us hungry for more. Lala Belu features Tony Buck on drums and Mike Majkowski on bass. Jessica Thompson mastered the album along with Hailu Mergia’s other reissues on Awesome Tapes From Africa.

You can pre-order a copy of the already greatly anticipated album here and listen to Gum Gum below.