Hailu Mergia & The Walias Band Tezeta Awesome Tapes From Africa LP, Reissue Vinyl

Hailu Mergia & The Walias Band



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This “Tezeta” album is one of those that have been impossible to find for nearly three decades. Sourced by Awesome Tapes From Africa and expertly remastered by Jessica Thompson, its unique and funky renditions of standards and popular songs of the day are so quintessentially Walias, flavorful and evocative. Hailu’s melodic organ, unashamedly front and center in every track, makes even the complex pieces accessible. The stirringly distinct opening riff from “Zengadyw” took me right back to a certain time in my youth. Deliciously vivid, it’s a time capsule in and of itself. “Gumegum” is a definite favorite. The vocal version, most popularly sang by the legendary Hirut Bekele, tells of unrequited love – an over-exploited theme in music of the time. “Tezeta” is the traditional anthem of nostalgia that doing a version of it was, for a long time, a rite of passage for any aspiring musician. “Endegena” (To Love Again), is a sleepy ballad by Mahmoud Ahmed getting a zesty uplift here. “Ou-Ou-Ta” is one of the signature songs of the greatest of them all, Tilahun Gessesse.