Hailu Mergia With Tony Buck & Mike Majkowski (live)
Revaler Straße 99
You could call this a comeback: The legendary Ethiopian keyboarder Hailu Mergia hadn’t performed in public for almost 20 years and then succeeded in blowing everyone away on his first ever full-scale European tour at the end of last year. He hit it off right away with his excellent Berlin-based rhythm section, Mike Majkowski on double bass and drummer extraordinaire Tony Buck of The Necks fame.
Hailu Mergia spends six days a week driving a cab to and from Dulles Airport in the US capitol, Washington – he’s been driving a taxi for more than 10 years. Little are his customers are aware, that the cabbie was once Ethiopia’s most popular keyboard player and leader of the legendary Walias Band (which, at times, also featured Mulatu Astatke). The Walias Band’s much sought-after LP Tche Belew features the original version of the monstrous Muziqawi Silt – arguably the best-known Ethiopian tune worldwide.
In the early 1980s, some Walias Band members used an US-tour to escape the dictatorial Mengistu-regime; Mergia has been living in the DC area ever since. In 2013 Awesome Tapes From Africa re-issued a lesser known solo album, “Hailu Mergia & His Classical Instrument”: The 1985 recording is a fantastic effort featuring a host of old school synths, ghostly accordions and a lovely bit of cheap drum computers.
After the mind-blowing show at Monarch in December its an honour to have Hailu & Co. back!
Before and after the concert Berlin’s SpatzHabibi DJ team will play a special selection of celestial summer sounds – a journey across the seven seas and back, sampling the most succulent exotica, jazz and persuasive percussion.