2LP released: Nov 16, 2018
There is perhaps no woman more cherished in modern Ethiopian history than Asnaketch Worku. As a musician, actress, dancer and cultural icon, Asnaketch inspired and challenged society for decades, until her death in 2011. From her beginnings as Ethiopia's first theater actress in 1952 to her climb to become one of the most famous actresses at the National Theater to her days as a club owner-turned-master musician, Asnaketch's endless accomplishments and accolades across the artistic spectrum made her a household name. She was an internationally-celebrated performer of Ethiopia's ancient harp, the krar, making her one of the most visible female musicians of the 20th century. All this while leaving controversy, broken hearts and a changed cultural landscape in her wake.In 1975, keyboardist and bandleader Hailu Mergia got a call from the owner of Misratch Music Shop to do a recording with Asnaketch and he went for it. This recording is a nearly-forgotten artifact of the remarkable icon's singular legacy, remastered and available outside Ethiopia for the first time. It also provides a rare glimpse into Mergia's work as a arranger-sideman in the Addis Ababa music scene.