World Cafe Guests

WXPN Radio

The premier guide for new and significant artists in rock, blues, and folk - including NPR-syndicated World Cafe

XPN2 - Jingle Jams

XPN's own Kris Kringle, (Robert Drake) is presenting a unique mix of seasonal songs celebrating both the holiday and winter seasons.

World Cafe Archives

Join the World Cafe through performances and interviews with celebrated and emerging artists.

XPoNential Radio

  • font size decrease font size decrease font size increase font size increase font size

Hailu Mergia & Low Mentality

DC Cabbie Hailu Mergia Is A Music Star In Ethiopia

An unusual session today with Hailu Mergia, a keyboard player and Ethiopian music star who now lives in the U.S. He came to our attention through Awesome Tapes from Africa, the website where Brian Shimkovitz posts cassette tapes of African music he discovers. That’s what led Shimkovitz to Hailu Mergia. He first became enchanted with a solo cassette Mergia recorded, then went out to find him, and now he has put out the much more well known 1977 Tche Belew that Mergia recorded with the top Ethiopian band The Walias. Mergia was in the forefront of musicians in Ethiopia who were melding blues, rock, jazz, funk, and afrobeat into a unique sound in the 70’s that has had a deep effect on all African music. Hailu emigrated to the U.S. in the 1980’s. Since this reissue, and that of the initial cassette of Mergia’s solo keyboard recordings, he has been in demand. That may impact his day job- driving a cab in Washington, DC. He will be backed today by the New York City based band Low Mentality.

Session Setlist

Recent Release: Tche Belew
Release Date: October 14, 2014
Label: Awesome Tapes From Africa

World Cafe Guest Search