Spotlight: Mulatu Astatke’s Landmark Album ‘Mulatu of Ethiopia’ Gets a Reissue

(Photo: Mulatu Astatke's Facebook page)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: May 21st, 2017

New York (TADIAS) – Mulatu Astatke’s seminal album Mulatu of Ethiopia was officially reissued on Friday, May 19th. The label, Strut Records, announced that the “official reissue of Mulatu Astatke landmark Ethio jazz album from 1972, including new interview and photographs, features previously unheard mono mix and session out-takes.”

The New York Times featured Mulatu’s album this week on their playlist, and noted: “The Ethiopian musician Mulatu Astatke studied vibraphone and percussion at Berklee College of Music in the mid-1960s, and a small label gave him the chance to record Ethio-jazz fusions. He made his funky, forward-looking, newly reissued 1972 album, “Mulatu of Ethiopia,” in New York City with jazz and Latin musicians, combining his African and American elements differently for each track. The melody of “Mulatu,” named for the composer himself, uses an unmistakably Ethiopian mode, while the track also has a crunchy wah-wah guitar, a steadfastly riffing horn section, a bullish saxophone solo and Mr. Astatke’s own vibraphone shimmering in dark spaces.”

Born in Jimma in 1943 the legendary artist is best known as the father of ethio-jazz. “At 73, Mulatu Astatke is as relevant as ever, and that goes for the music he made 45 years ago,” adds the music website Treble Zine in a recent highlight. “Mulatu of Ethiopia isn’t new, but every spin feels like a fresh discovery.”

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