Nehemiah Sliwoski

Just in time for the shortest day of the year, when daylight's scarce and the sun's warmth is but a distant memory, we've got the second installment of the Stranger's ongoing Starlight Series, where we post a video of an artist playing that after-hours stage at last summer's Pickathon. This month's edition features Ethiopian jazz legend Hailu Mergia performing his song, "Yetewat Hilm."

An abridged version of Mergia's incredible story: The first musical outfit he played with, the Walias Band, was wildly popular in Ethiopia, but the group didn't find the success they'd hoped for on their first American tour in 1981. Mergia decided to stay in the US anyway, and the master keyboardist spent the next couple of decades working as a cab driver in Washington, DC. He never stopped making music, though, and just released a beautiful new album called Lala Belu on the Awesome Tapes from Africa label.

Mergia's performance at Pickathon's Starlight Stage was a gently groovy affair, with his hypnotic keyboard playing standing out from the many layers of rhythm. Watch the whole thing below!

Check out previous episodes of our ongoing Pickathon Starlight Series:

• Episode 1: Shinyribs