Meeting the Godfather of Ethiopian Jazz

Above: Mulatu Astatke first cooked up EthioJazz 42 years ago
while studying music in the United States. (Photo BBC News)

By Will Ross
BBC News, Addis Ababa

14 June 2011

Mulatu Astatke, the godfather of Ethiopian jazz music, is often flying around the world performing sell-out shows so I was lucky to find him at his home in Addis Ababa surrounded by art, conjuring up magic on his vibraphone – which looks like a giant xylophone.

He described the recipe for Ethio-jazz which he first cooked up 42 years ago while studying music in the United States.

“Most of our Ethiopian music is based on five notes [pentatonic]. What I did was fuse the five tones with 12 tones. For many years I’ve been experimenting and the more I do that the more complex it gets,” Mr Mulatu told the BBC.

Read more and watch video at BBC News.



 

 

 

 

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