Hailu Mergia & The Walias Band TEZETA

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Hailu Mergia & The Walias Band TEZETA

Hardly anyone outside Ethiopia seems to know Hailu Mergia & The Walias Band “Tezeta” exists.
Within Ethiopia this tape has been impossible to find for decades.
That’s about to change with this release, which makes available this epochal recording on LP, CD and Digital formats for the first time.

From their genesis as members of the Venus club in-house band in the early 70s, Hailu Mergia and the Walias Band were at the forefront of the musical revolution during an era where modern instruments and foreign styles superseded the traditional fare to become the staple sound of Ethiopia.
No one would argue that the Walias were the trailblazing powerhouse of modern Ethiopian music.

They were the first band to form independently without affiliation to a theatre house, a club or a hotel;
unprecedented and risky as they had to raise all funding for expenses by themselves including buying equipment.
They were the first to release full instrumental albums, considered to be commercially unviable at the time.
They opened their own recording studio, with band members Melake Gebre and Mahmoud Aman doubling as technical buffs during sessions. They were also the first independent band to tour abroad.
In short, they were the pioneers every band tried to emulate; some more successfully than others.

Odds are, any Ethiopian over the age of 35 who had access to TV or radio by the early 90s, will instantly recognize the sound of Walias. What is not a given is, how many would actually identify the band itself.
Barely a day went by without hearing the Walias either in the background on radio or as an accompaniment to various programs on TV.

This Tezeta album is the band’s second recording, released in 1975.
Sourced by Awesome Tapes From Africa and expertly remastered by Jessica Thompson, its unique and funky renditions of standards and popular songs of the day are so quintessentially Walias, flavorful and evocative.
Hailu’s melodic organ, unashamedly front and center in every track, makes even the complex pieces accessible.

Hailu Mergia & die Walias-Band TEZETA

Kaum jemand außerhalb Äthiopiens scheint zu wissen, dass Hailu Mergia & The Walias Band "Tezeta" existiert.
Innerhalb Äthiopiens war diese Kassette jahrzehntelang unmöglich zu finden.
Das wird sich mit dieser Veröffentlichung ändern, die diese epochale Aufnahme zum ersten Mal auf LP, CD und in digitaler Form verfügbar macht.

Seit ihrer Entstehung als Mitglieder der hauseigenen Venus-Club-Band in den frühen 70er Jahren standen Hailu Mergia und die Walias Band an der Spitze der musikalischen Revolution in einer Ära, in der moderne Instrumente und fremde Stile die traditionelle Kost verdrängten und zum Grundton Äthiopiens wurden.
Niemand würde bestreiten, dass die Walias Band das bahnbrechende Kraftpaket der modernen äthiopischen Musik war.

Sie waren die erste Band, die unabhängig und ohne Anbindung an ein Theater, einen Club oder ein Hotel gegründet wurde;
Das war beispiellos und riskant, da sie alle Ausgaben selbst finanzieren mussten, einschließlich des Kaufs von Ausrüstung.
Sie waren die erste Band, die komplette Instrumentalalben veröffentlichte, die zu dieser Zeit als kommerziell unrentabel galten.
Sie eröffneten ihr eigenes Aufnahmestudio, wobei die Bandmitglieder Melake Gebre und Mahmoud Aman während der Sessions als Techniker fungierten. Sie waren auch die erste unabhängige Band, die im Ausland auf Tournee ging.
Kurzum, sie waren die Pioniere, denen jede Band nachzueifern versuchte - manche erfolgreicher als andere.

Die Chancen stehen gut, dass jeder Äthiopier über 35, der in den frühen 90er Jahren Zugang zu Fernsehen oder Radio hatte, den Sound von Walias sofort wiedererkennt. Was nicht sicher ist, ist, wie viele die Band selbst erkennen würden.
Es verging kaum ein Tag, an dem man die Walias nicht entweder im Hintergrund im Radio oder als Begleitung verschiedener Fernsehsendungen hörte.

Dieses Tezeta-Album ist die zweite Aufnahme der Band, die 1975 veröffentlicht wurde.
Es stammt von Awesome Tapes From Africa und wurde von Jessica Thompson fachmännisch neu gemastert. Die einzigartigen und funkigen Interpretationen von Standards und beliebten Liedern der damaligen Zeit sind so typisch für die Walias, geschmackvoll und eindrucksvoll.
Hailus melodisches Organ, das in jedem Stück unverhohlen im Vordergrund steht, macht selbst die komplexen Stücke zugänglich.


Awesome Tapes from Africa

Awesome Tapes From Africa is a record label and web site operated by Brian Shimkovitz.

The site was founded in 2006 in Brooklyn, New York.

The site was created as a way for Shimkovitz to share music he had come across while on a scholarship in Ghana.

He was interested in the variety of genres and artists he found, distributed largely on cassette tapes at markets, but that he had not come across outside West Africa.

In 2011 he transitioned the site from just a blog with posted recordings of collected tapes posted without the artists' permission to a commercial record label.

The goal of the company is to seed and expand an audience for the artists presented as well as provide opportunities to sell albums and tour.

Artists are paid every six months and receive 50% of the profits from an album.

Tapes presented on Awesome Tapes come from a variety of sources: gathered in Ghanaian street markets, purchased in stores in the US, or sent by others over the internet.

In addition to the website, Shimkovitz DJ's concerts, clubs and at festivals as Awesome Tapes From Africa, as well as hosts a show on Dublab.

Most Awesome Tapes From Africa releases are official rereleases of out-of-print cassettes from African musicians and bands.

SK Kakraba's Songs of Paapieye is the first album to consist of a new release. Although music is distributed in Africa via MP3 on mobile phones, Shimkovitz says the widest variety of music in West Africa is still available on cassette tape.

In the journal Public Culture, Awesome Tapes From Africa, along with record labels Sublime Frequencies and Parallel World, is discussed as being emblematic of "World Music 2.0" for combining the "open source ethics of online networks with long-standing countercultural networks of circulation" within cassette culture and music distribution in developing nations.

More about Awesome Tapes from Africa