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.
Astatke led his band while playing vibraphone and conga drums—instruments that he introduced into Ethiopian popular music—as well as other percussion instruments, keyboards and organ. His albums focus primarily on instrumental music, and Astatke appears on all three known albums of instrumentals that were released during Ethiopia’s Golden ’70s.
Astatke’s family sent the young Mulatu to learn engineering in Wales during the late 1950s. Instead, he began his education at Lindisfarne College near Wrexham before earning a degree in music through studies at the Trinity College of Music in London. He collaborated with jazz vocalist and percussionist Frank Holder. In the 1960s, Astatke moved to the United States, where he became the first student from Africa to enroll at Boston’s Berklee College of Music. There, he studied vibraphone and percussion.
Sunday, 8th February 2016 | 21:00 CET
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