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Mulatu Astatke became an international star in his 60s, thanks to the Ethiopiques series of reissue albums and the subsequent use of his music in the Jim Jarmusch movie Broken Flowers.

In this lecture at the Toronto Red Bull Music Academy in 2007, the father of Ethio-jazz talked about creating an entirely new genre of music, the incalculable contribution Africa has made to modern music and the immense respect he has for his home country’s indigenous “scientists of sound.”

#MulatuAstatke #EthioJazz #RedBullMusicAcademy

What brought this interest was a life spent innovating. Born in Jimma, Ethiopia, Astatke trained in London, New York City and Boston where he began to blend jazz and Latin music with the music of his homeland. From the ’50s to the ’70s he worked with many popular Ethiopian artists as a musician and arranger, and birthed what has come to be known as Ethio-jazz. Astatke could be most often seen leading his band from behind a vibraphone and conga drums – instruments that he eventually introduced to Ethiopia.

01:02 – Ethiopian musical culture
28:36 – Studying in the UK 
38:24 – Latin and African music 
41:42 – The five-tone scale
51:12 – Ethio-jazz
1:33:15 – Modernizing ancient instruments

48:27 – Mulatu Astatke – “I Faram Gami I Faram”
1:44:39 – Mulatu Astatke – “Never On A Sunday”
1:47:00 – Mulatu Astatke – “Guantanamera”

The Red Bull Music Academy is a global music institution committed to fostering creativity in music. We celebrate music, its culture, and the transformative minds behind it. Begun in 1998, the Academy has taken the core principles that underlie its annual workshop for selected participants and applied this curatorial approach to events, lectures, and city-wide festivals throughout the year.

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