Mulatu Astatke to Release Career Retrospective on Strut

October 6, 2000

Mulatu is a true pioneer of African music. He was the first Ethiopian musician of his generation to travel extensively and to record abroad – he studied in the UK in Wales and at Trinity College Of Music in London, cutting his teeth on the buoyant London jazz scene of the early ‘60s. He became the first African student to attend Harvard and he lived and recorded in New York, developing a unique sound that fused Western jazz with traditional Ethiopian melodies. As Mulatu says, “it took a long time to get the balance, to let the colours and the feelings of the Ethiopian modes shine through.” Returning to “Swinging Addis” during the late ’60s, he became a pivotal figure, arranging for many of the country’s top vocalists and developing rich, dense textures in his own music during the final years of Selassie’s reign and the mid-‘70s rule of the Derg Communist military junta.

Tracing the progression of his Ethio jazz experiments with full access to all of the labels for whom he recorded, Mulatu Astatke: New York-Addis-London is the essential Mulatu. Covering his first recordings in the UK during 1965, his groundbreaking fusions for the small Worthy label in New York and his key ‘70s recordings back in Addis on Amha, Phillips and Axum, the album features comprehensive sleeve notes by Miles Cleret, boss of the excellent Soundway Records imprint, and rare, previously unseen photos from Mulatu’s personal archive.

Tracklist
1. ASIYO BELEMA (feat. Frank Holder)
2. MASCARAM SETABA (with Ethiopian Quintet)
3. I FARAM GAMI FARAM (with Ethiopian Quintet)
4. SOUL POWER (with Ethiopian Quintet)
5. GIRL FROM ADDIS ABABA (with Ethiopian Quintet)
6. SHAGU (Mulatu Astatke Quartet)
7. MULATU
8. DEWEL
9. NETSANET
10. YEKATIT
11. ENE ALANCHIE ALNOREM
12. YEGELLA TEZETA
13. YEKERMO SEW
14. TEZETA
15. EMNETE
16. YEKITIR TEZETA
17. LANCHI BIYE with Tilahoun Gessesse
18. FIKRATCHIN with Menelik Wossenatchew
19. EBO LALA with Seifu Yohannes
20. WUBIT with Muluken Melesse
21. KASALEFKUT HULU with Tilahoun Gessesse

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