Please note that due to circumstances beyond our control, this concert had to be canceled.



September 15, 2017

Friday, 8 PM

The Town Hall

123 W 43rd St, Manhattan


Co-presented with (le) poisson rouge




Pre-performance Q&A with Francis Falceto, musicologist and producer of Éthiopiques compilations, moderated by Banning Eyre of Afropop Worldwide.


This concert is a rare opportunity to see two of Ethiopia’s legendary musicians perform in one night.


Over the last twenty years, the Éthiopiques compilation series has been instrumental in popularizing the legendary artists of Ethiopia to Western audiences. Among the most influential have been Mahmoud Ahmed, Mulatu Astatke, and Hailu Mergia & The Walias Band.


For over 40 years, Mahmoud Ahmed has deftly combined the traditional Amharic music of Ethiopia with pop and jazz. As with the late great Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, until one has heard Ahmed's incredible voice, words hardly do it justice.


Opening is Hailu Mergia, the leader of the Walias Band, one of Ethiopia’s most celebrated jazz/funk bands in the 1970s, [who also recorded with the father of Ethio-Jazz, Mulatu Astatke.] In 1981 they went on tour in the US, opening up for none other than Mahmoud Ahmed. Rather than returning to Ethiopia under its dictatorship Hailu Mergia stayed in the US and took work driving a taxi cab in Washington DC. In the late 1990's Walias Band found a wider audience in the west when their music was released on the Éthiopiques compilation series.


In recent years, Hailu Mergia’s music has been even more widley introduced to audiences by Brian Shimkovitz of the blog and record label Awesome Tapes from Africa which has been reissuing his albums. Desire for the music of Hailu Mergia has brought him back to the stage, opening for Mahmoud Ahmed once again.


..a show of controlled intensity.” - The New York Times


This concert is part of our Masters of African Music Series.