Hailu Mergia

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

Doors: 6:30 pm

The Lincoln Theatre

Washington, DC


Show starts at 8:00 PM

Beirut - (Set time: 9:00 PM)
Hailu Mergia - (Set time: 8:00 PM)
The return of the Hailu Mergia to the world of music is one of the most unlikely comebacks of the last few years.

The keyboardist was a major star in 1970's Ethiopia, presiding over the country's leading instrumental jazz ensemble Walias Band, which worked for years on the Addis Ababa hotel circuit and jammed with luminaries like Duke Ellington and Manu Dibango. In 1981 members of Walias including Hailu used the first ever US tour of an Ethiopian music group to escape the dictatorial Mengistu regime. Since then Hailu has been a resident of the Washington DC area, spending most of his recent years as a cab driver at the capital's Dulles Airport and playing only privately.

Enter Brian Shimkovitz of Awesome Tapes From Africa, who came across "Hailu Mergia & His Classical Instrument", an obscure 1985 cassette, in a music store in Ethiopia, tracked down the old maestro and reissued it: This charming tape has both a nostalgic feel as well as a futuristic dimension. On the back of this reissue, Hailu started to play live again. The subsequent reissue of "Tche Belew," Hailu & Walias Band's 1977 masterpiece of Ethiopian jazz instrumentals, launched Hailu back onto festival stages worldwide.
Venue Information:
The Lincoln Theatre
1215 U Street NW
Washington, DC, 20009