Ayalew Mesfin

20/02/2018Rediscover A Rare And Beautiful Moment In Ethiopian Music History

Now-Again Records and Vinyl Me, Please have teamed up to release "one of the last treasure troves of Ethiopian Funk" by Ethiopian legend Ayalew Mesfin, over 40 years after its initial appearance. Recorded in the 1970's with his Black Lion Band, Mesfin's music "is among the funkiest to arise from Addis Ababa".

With a near two dozen 7" singles and several reel-to-reel tapes to his name, "Hasabe (My Worries)" is the first anthology of his music. Only four of his songs were previously reissued within Francis Falcetto's "Ethiopiques" series. “Most of my works revolve around social issues, as well as political commentary. Even though my songs appear to be about lovers, or other mundane topics, they are open to interpretation,” Mesfin explains.

As the Derg regime took control of the country in 1974, Ayalew Mesfin was forced underground and was eventually imprisoned for three months: "My discontent with the military government grew over time, until I got to the point in deciding to expose the brutal dictatorship through my music,” Mesfin states. For more context, read an excerpt from the liner notes.

Listen to the very James Brown-esque "Liba Menta Hone" in the SoundCloud player above and watch the short film below on Ayalew's story and his music. A variation of the record will be released on Now-Again in late 2018.

AUTHOR: Lev Nordstrom