Ethiopian accordionist, keyboardist, arranger, and all around cosmic jazz-funk ambassador Hailu Mergia was once a part of Walias Band, a seminal '70s funk group based in Addis Ababa. During a 1981 tour of the United States, the band split-up. A portion of its members, Mergia included, opted to stay abroad. Mergia has lived in the U.S. ever since, playing his woozy, otherworldly style of improvisational music in between working a day job as a taxi driver. Lala Belu is his first release of new material in 15 years, a collection of seriously deep jazz grooves over which Mergia lays down his manic sounding accordion, keyboard, and synth lines. The results approximate a sort of Sun Ra-styled chaos meditated over traditional Ethiopian melodies. For the adventurous listener; this one gets way out there.