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Hailu Mergia

22 May 2017 | 7:00pm
All ages
£10 / £7.5 Mono Bus available Local Links

Hailu Mergia’s re-emergence back into the world of music is an unlikely and sprit lifting story and one we should all celebrate.

The keyboard maestro was a major star in 1970’s Ethiopia, presiding over the countries leading instrumental ensemble; Walias Band. The group worked restlessly on the legendary Addis Ababa hotel circuit jamming with luminaries like Duke Ellington and Manu Dibango. When Walias Band toured the US in 1981 Hailu used the opportunity to escape the Mengistu dictatorship. Hailu stayed on in Washington and drove a cab out of Dules airport, practicing whilst waiting to pick up fares.

Enter Brian Shimkovitz, operator of the acclaimed blog-turned-record label Awesome Tapes From Africa, who came across “Hailu Mergia & His Classical Instrument” in a music store in Ethiopia. Back in the US Brian tracked down Hailu and agreed to reissue it, Hailu started to play live again in 2013, exploring the deep, liquid and hypnotic qualities of his music, while not forgetting to throw in some hefty bits of funk now and then.

In October 2014, Awesome Tapes From Africa reissued Walias Band’s “Tche Belew” (1977), the much sought after holy grail of Ethio Jazz which has been selling on eBay for astronomical sums up to £3500. This album became revered by record collectors around the world particularly due to stand-out track “Musicawi Silt”: With its unique groove and angular melody, this is one of the most seminal tunes in the Ethiopian popular music canon and has been covered numberless times.

On May 22nd 2017 Hailu will play his first Scottish show at Platform accompanied by Ethiopian bass wizard Alemseged Kebede and the Trinidadian master drummer Kenneth “Ken” Joseph.

“I have never attended a better concert” Tagesspiegel (Berlin)

Platform are delighted to announce that polish composer, multi-instrumentalist and singer Ela Orleans will open the show. She uses electronic and acoustic instruments to create a diverse and layered music.

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