After leaving Ethiopia as a teenager to study engineering in Britain, Astatke found himself working as a professional musician on the London and New York jazz scenes as early as the '60s - in addition to becoming the first African student to graduate from the Berklee College of Music in Boston. In the two volumes - each a full-length album - of his early recording Afro-Latin Soul, he started to create a unique and still-magical sound that combined the pentatonic scale of Ethiopian folk music with contemporary jazz and other elements of popular music along with Latin and Afro-Caribbean. This style reached its full fruition the 1972 album Mulatu of Ethiopia and in 1974's Yekatit Ethio Jazz, recorded after he had already returned to his homeland.
By the early '70s, this Ethiopian musician who had toured with the likes of Duke Ellington would be forgotten by the Western world for a quarter century. With the new millennium, however, the French label Buda Musique prompted his rediscovery with their record series Ethiopiques. Famous hip-hop performers were soon sampling his music, with half a dozen of his songs also appearing in Jarmusch's 2005 film Broken Flowers, which featured Bill Murray in the leading role. In 2009, he recorded a joint album (Inspiration Information Vol. 3) with the British psychedelic hip-hop/jazz ensemble The Heliocentrics. This was followedin 2016 by another collaboration (Cradle Of Humanity), this one with Australia's Black Jesus Experience. And, of course, he also receives great acclaim touring with his own band: joining him in the Béla Bartók National Concert Hall will be seven accompanying musicians, including the renowned free jazz double bassist John Edwards.
Presented by: Müpa Budapest
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