Los Angeles-based music label Awesome Tapes From Africa will release Ethiopian keyboardist and accordionist Hailu Mergia’s new studio album, titled “Lala Belu.”

By Gabriela Helfet (The Vinyl Factory) |

First studio album from the funky maestro in 15 years, following his recent comeback.

Keyboardist and accordion player Hailu Mergia will release new studio album Lala Belu, this February via Awesome Tapes From Africa.

Though Hailu’s music was well-known in his native Ethiopia and beyond, when he emigrated to Washington D.C. in 1981, Hailu was unable to reach the same audiences despite continuing to create music. He then became an airport taxi driver.

Hailu’s career was revived thanks to a series of LP reissues on Awesome Tapes From Africa (ATFA): Hailu Mergia and His Classical Instrument in 2013, Tche Belew in 2014 and the essential Wede Harer Guzo in 2016.

Speaking to ATFA about how much has changed since he made his last album in 2003, Hailu shares, “It is a very historical album for me. And I am extremely excited. All of it feels like a big comeback. The album is very different from all the albums I did after I left Ethiopia.”

Continue reading this story at The Vinyl Factory
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