Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Mulatu Astatke

Mulatu Astatke is an Ethiopian musician and arranger. He is known as the father of Ethio-jazz. Born in 1943 in the western Ethiopian city of Jimma, Mulatu was musically trained in London, New York City, and Boston, where he was the first African student at Berklee College of Music. He would later combine his jazz and Latin music influences with traditional Ethiopian music.

He has worked with many influential jazz artists such as Duke Ellington during the 1970s. After meeting the Massachusetts-based Either/Orchestra in Addis Ababa in 2004, Mulatu began a collaboration with the band which continues today, with the most recent performances in Scandinavia in summer 2006 & London, New York, Germany, Holland, Glastonbury (UK), Dublin and Toronto in summer 2008. In the autumn of 2008, he collaborated with London-based Psyche-Jazz collective, The Heliocentrics on an album 'Inspiration Information Vol. 3' which included re-workings of his earlier Ethio-Jazz classics with new material by The Heliocentrics and himself. Mulatu's signature instrument is the vibraphone.

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