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  • 122 Anderson Street
  • Portland, Maine 04101
  • (207) 760-4440

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Hailu Mergia & Dahlak Band - Wede Harer Guzo


The Good Thing - September 2021

Sometime during the summer of 2020 we reached the end of some album we were listening to when Spotify went rogue and bestowed the title track of this glorious record upon our ears. I hate to say it but those creepy algorithms really do work and in this case I wasn’t the least bit put off by the intrusiveness of a distant supercomputer knowing better than I what it is that I should be listening to. No, in this case I was actually grateful for holy lord this album is outta site! Making music in Addis Ababa in 1978, the year this was recorded, was challenging to say the least. The city was living under a strict curfew, imposed by the Derg regime, that lasted from midnight to 6am. That, however, did not stop the people from dancing! Instead the clubs stayed full until 6am when the curfew ended. Keyboardist Hailu Mergia was a major player in the Addis scene at this time. He played mainly with the renowned Walias Band at the Hilton - fanciest hotel in town at the time - playing for the upper class, out of towners, ambassadors and the like. Mergia was looking to record an instrumental record of traditional Ethiopian songs but his Walias backup band was busy recording with other local singers at the time. Mergia instead recorded Wede Harer Guzo with the Dahlak Band - the house band at the Ghion Hotel down the street - which attracted a younger, hipper crowd. They recorded the tracks in the afternoons at the hotel over a three day period. The album was released on tape by a local record store and eventually lost in obscurity until. Lost, that is, until Mergia sent his one copy to the good folks at Awesome Tapes From Africa who were unaware that the album even existed. How lucky we humans are that this lone recording made it through the mail safe and sound! - Will Pratt

Tracklist : 

01. Embuwa Bey Lamitu 06:05
02. Sintayehu 06:48
03. Bati Bati 07:04
04. Migibima Moltual 06:26
05. Yene Nesh Wey (Amalele) 04:38
06. Wede Harer Guzo 06:35
07. Yemanesh Ayinama 07:11
08. Almaz Eyasebkush 05:40
09. Anchin Kfu Ayinkash 05:24
10. Minlbelesh 05:57