Wede Harer Guzo
Awesome Tapes From Africa
It was 1978 and, following the ousting of Ethiopian Emperor Haile Sellassie four years earlier the military Derg was starting to suppress Addis’ vibrant music scene. Still, bands found ways to get around the imposed curfew by playing raucous gigs from dusk till dawn, even in some of Addis’ fanciest hotels. Hailu Mergia and his Walias band had been central to this scene, but for his second album (after the successful Tche Belew with the Walias) the keyboard player decided to enlist the renowned Dahlak Band instead, who played more soul and Amharic tunes as opposed to the Walias’ more western jazz and funk sets. On Wede Harer Guzo Mergia is more experimental with his arrangements; the mostly instrumental tracks unfold effortlessly, with slow, enveloping grooves and carefree and warm atmospheres. Atop of it all, Mergia’s keyboard glows.