Festival Internacional JAZZMADRID
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Mulatu Astatke © Alexis Maryon

Mulatu Astatke

Oficial Concerts In collaboration with Villanos del Jazz

T 14 Nov
Fernán Gómez. Centro Cultural de la Villa
Sala Guirau · 20:00 · How to get there
  • Reduced mobility
  • Magnetic loop

The Éthiopiques series of albums has opened many new doors for us. Arguably the most important of these is that it has given us the opportunity to discover a musical scene brimming with undiscovered treasures, that of Ethiopia. Multi-instrumentalist Mulatu Astatke is one such treasure. At one time, Volume 4 of this collection was dedicated in its entirety to him. His importance comes from his own fans, who consider him the father of Ethio-jazz.

Mulatu’s fame sky-rocketed in the West when up-and-coming artists in the U.S. began using his creations as inspiration for their own work. He had originally intended to study engineering, but clearly something must have gone wrong because he ended up graduating from London’s Trinity College of Music in the 1960s. He matured his style in the United States, where he became the first African to enrol at Berklee College in Boston where he studied vibraphone and percussion.

Which explains precisely why this musician is a clear example of the inaccuracy that lies behind the adjectives used by the West to present his music with the illusion of novelty. Six decades have passed since Mulatu joined the ranks of those who wanted to prolong the sound experiences of soul and rhythm & blues by incorporating some, or all, of the indigenous formulations that have always been at work in the musical cultures of Africa.

Venerable in appearance, Mulatu Astatke stands unassumingly at the front and centre of his band, behind his instrument, and from this position and with great precision, he organises the narrative of a superbly planned repertoire that ranges from Afro-cubop and traditional Ethiopian music to funk and soul. An explosive mixture that captivates listeners with its magical powers on the first listen. We had the pleasure of welcoming him to JAZZMADRID in 2017 and 2018 – the last concert, like this one, took place in an auditorium in keeping with his ability to attract large audiences. He has more than earned this new invitation. And so have his fans. The festival organisers are very grateful for your patience!

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