Hailu Mergia (ET), Stella Chiweshe (ZW)
2400 HUF/ in advanced booking: 1900 HUF (the first 100 tickets)
Many times we enjoyed telling this amazing story: It is about the triumphant return to the music biz of one of Ethiopia's leading performers - an instrumentalist who was forced into exile by a dictatorial regime hostile to the arts and ended up driving cabs for almost 30 years.
Early in 2018, Hailu Mergia's amazing account is finally coming full circle: after the blogger, DJ and label owner Brian Shimkovitz had tracked down Mergia in DC, he released three fantastic reissues of the keyboardist's older materials. The maestro started to perform publicly again late in 2013 with sold out venues and amazed fans over three continents. Now Awesome Tapes From Africa, Shimokivitz' imprint, will release "Lala Belu", Mergia's long-expected comeback album of all new music.
To celebrate this amazing achievement, Mergia will be on the road again, backed by America's leading Ethiopian bassist Alem Kebede and the longtime drummer of reggae legends Culture, Ken Joseph, to present more elegant excursions in Ethio-Jazz.
Her Majesty - the Queen of Mbira music from Zimbabwe - like Stella Chiweshe is affectionately called, is the first female artist who gained prestige in a music tradition that's been dominated by men: in Mbira music - known as the backbone of Zimbabwean music. The Mbira consists of 22 to 28 metal keys mounted on a hardwood soundboard and is usually placed inside a gourd resonator (deze). The keys are played with the two thumbs plucking down and the right forefinger plucking up. At 71 Stella is Zimbabwe's internationally most prolific performer, being a prominent star in the 1.0 days of "world music" in the 1980es and early 90es. Since then, things have been getting a bit quiet around the "queen", which is currently changing for good, as Chiweshe is still a breathtakingly powerful and highly spiritual performer.