Awesome Tapes From Africa present a reissue of a super-ultra-mega rare cassette from Ethiopian keyboardist and accordion player Hailu Mergia, recorded in 1978 with the Dahlak Band. According to Resident Advisor and Awesome Tapes themeselves, prior to this reissue, Mergia’s copy of the cassette was the only known source of the recording.
Now it’s been pressed to 12 inches of fresh 21st century wax for your listening pleasure, with an insert and a gorgeous pink and yellow outer sleeve.
Words from the label:
Mergia released Wede Harer Guzo (“Journey to Harer,” a city in eastern Ethiopia) with Sheba Music Group, which was located in the piazza district but has long since shut down. His cassette copy is the only known source we could find. Jessica Thompson at Coast Mastering managed to restore the recording to clean up layers of hiss, flutter and distorted frequencies, made worse by years of storage. Although there are some remaining sonic artifacts of the era’s recording and cassette duplicating quality, the reissue captures the band’s inimitable vibe.
Indeed, the sound of the record is wonderfully vintage – full of distortions and frequency gaps which add heaps of character to the already-cheery nature of the music – a real sense of time, place and spirit is captured in these songs, and it makes for an absolute pleasure of a listening experience.
Mergia’s skill on keyboard is without question, and works in beautiful tandem with the licks of organ harmony on tracks such as Sintayehu. Elsewhere he favours a more laid back blues approach to his harmony and melodic style – Bati Bati is a fantastic example, a track which captures some of that classic blues magic and reframes it in a slightly more mystical setting – our favourite of the lot (check that awesome vocal too).
Housed in a gorgeous pink and yellow sleeve that really jumps off the wall and with a 12” sized insert with extended blurb, tracklist and personnel list.