From their genesis as members of the Venus club in-house band in the early ’70s, Hailu Mergia and the Walias Band were at the forefront of the musical revolution during an era where modern instruments and foreign styles superseded the traditional fare to become the staple sound of Ethiopia. No one would argue that the Walias were the trailblazing powerhouse of modern Ethiopian music. This ‘Tezeta’ album, the band’s second recording, released in 1975, is one of those that have been impossible to find for nearly three decades. Sourced by Awesome Tapes From Africa and expertly remastered by Jessica Thompson, its unique and funky renditions of standards and popular songs of the day are so quintessentially Walias, flavourful and evocative. Hailu’s melodic organ, unashamedly front and center in every track, makes even the complex pieces accessible.