Ayalew Mesfin stands aside the likes of Mulatu Astake, Mahmoud Ahmed, Hailu Mergia and Alemayehu Eshete as a legend of 1970s Ethiopia. Mesfin’s music is some of the funkiest to arise from this unconquerable East African nation. Mesfin’s recording career, captured in nearly two dozen 7” singles and numerous reel-to-reel tapes, shows the strata of the most fertile decade in Ethiopia’s 20th century recording industry, when records were pressed constantly by both independent upstarts and corporate behemoths, even if they were only distributed within the confines of this East African nation. Though Mesfin was forced underground by the Derg regime that took control of Ethiopia in 1974, he has returned almost 50 years later with this triumphant set albums – the first time that his music has been presented in this form. These albums give us a chance to discover a rare and beautiful moment in music history, in anthologies built from Mesfin’s uber-rare 7” single releases and from previously unreleased recordings taken from master tapes. Che Belew gives us a chance to discover a rare & beautiful moment in music history, in an anthology built from his uber-rare 7” single releases.
Doug Hammond & David Durrah
Afro / Afrobeat