This concert is a rare opportunity to see two of Ethiopia’s legendary musicians perform in one night. Both Mahmoud Ahmed and Hailu Mergia were introduced more widely to Western audiences by the Éthiopiques compilation series which has been instrumental in highlighting the most influential artists from Ethiopia over the past 20 years.

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. The band fizzled and Hailu stayed in Washington D.C. falling into obscurity.

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

$35 / $45 / $55 / $65