Mulatu Astatke & the Heliocentrics CD (2009)

I, like many others, first became aware of Ethiopian musician Mulatu Astatke from the soundtrack of Jim Jarmusch’s film “Broken Shadows” from a few years back.  I got the Ethiopiques Vol 4 CD with his music, and recently came across this CD of new recordings by Astatke along with a band from England (described in one spot as a “noise-jazz collective”, but they’re pretty ‘in the groove’ here).   I like the new recording – I think it’s as good as the older stuff.

Astatke goes back quite a few years!  From the Strut label’s site:

Mulatu Astatke is one of Ethiopia’s foremost musical ambassadors. Informed by spells living and studying in the UK and the USA, his self-styled Ethio-jazz sound flourished during the “Swinging Addis” era of the late ‘60s as he successfully fused Western jazz and funk with traditional Ethiopian folk melodies, five tone scale arrangements and elements from music of the ancient Coptic church.

A little web searching turned up this recording of a 2008 live show where Astatke and the Heliocentrics play a bunch of his older tunes; a good place to get a sense of his sound.

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  • MRVEGAS  On May 13, 2009 at 4:56 pm

    Listening the Astake’s live show on the link you provided… smooth and hip! I can see how it would make a great soundtrack.

  • Jim  On May 15, 2009 at 9:35 am

    Superb music to have on at work while purchasing, forcasting and keeping the mind off politics! Hard to keep from finger or toe tapping while listening, so I hope I didn’t make too many mistakes while enjoying the music!

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