The Shuffle: Ethiopia funk pioneer, Hailu Mergia and The Walias Band’s “Tche Belew”

Reconnect with the Ethiopian classic ahead of Hailu Mergia's coming album, 'Yene Mircha'

Hailu Mergia just announced his coming album, ‘Yene Mircha’, which will be released next month. The Ethiopia funk legend is currently on his 6th decade of musical activity and there’s no doubt about his enduring relevance at 74. The blend of traditional Ethiopian music and electronic music he and the Walias Band established in the 1960s and ’70s with songs like “Tche Belew” has remained a highlight in Ethiopian music history even today.

He led the Walias Band to become one of the country’s best-known groups in the freshly invigorated music scene in Addis Ababa. In 1977, they recorded the Ethiopian classic, “Tche Belew”, having already crossed over from Addis Ababa nightclubs to a coveted residency at one of the city’s highbrow hotels. The woozy, synth-laden instrumentals on “Tche Belew” casts a spellbinding cord across different traditional sounds from Africa.

Though Hailu Mergia spent most part of the last 2 decades driving a taxi in Washington, DC, after The Walias Band’s disband in the 80s, he’s still regarded as a musical pioneer. In 2018, he released his album, ‘Lala Belu’, his 1st collection of new music in 2 decades and his 1st ever project aimed at a largely worldwide audience. He will be releasing a new album on the 27th of March under Awesome Tapes From Africa and you can pre-order it here.

Stream Hailu Mergia and the Walias Band’s “Tche Belew” below.

Featured Image credits: Instagram/hailumergia
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