Check out Ethiopian funk/jazz legend Hailu Mergia’s new LP (Cedar Show Tonight!)
The Cedar Cultural Center is a treasure for many reasons, but every time we get an artist like Hailu Mergia to make a stop here on their tour I’m reminded of how lucky we are. Mergia, 71, was a keyboard player in the Ethio-jazz scenes of 70s and 80s with the Walias Band before stepping back from music almost 30 years ago. He was a cab driver in D.C., only occasionally playing his keyboard until his music was discovered and started getting reissued a few years back. And back he is, with vigor, releasing the outstanding new LP Lala Belu on Awesome Tapes from Africa. You can stream and buy the LP below, which I’d bet is going to pop up on many “best of” lists in the next few months (it will be on mine, for sure). The LP is a doozy, combining jazz and funk in a cocktail that is clearly rooted in the past but still sounds futuristic. Don’t miss a chance to see this living legend tonight at the Cedar. Tickets are $25, music at 8 with an opening set from Minnesota’s own Yonathan’s Cultural Show.