Mulatu Astatke, a.k.a, the father/king of Ethio-Jazz.
Never heard of him? You probably have, you just didn’t know it. I myself had to replay the intro to As We Enter by Nas and Damien Marley a hundred times before I realised where I had heard that sound before. Born in Jimma, Ethiopia, and musically trained in New York, USA, Mulatu Atstake’s unique style transcends language or culture, producing a fusion of Afro-Latin soul, all the while, beautifully maintaining that unmistakable melancholic Ethiopian sound. Okay Africa wrote an amazing piece showcasing his samples used in the Hip-Hop industry, so check it out!
Some time last year, I had the pleasure of watching him perform live at the Jazz Cafe in Camden, London! The place was packed, and I’m not that tall, so I spent most of it with my camera in hand, my hand in the air, and my finger hovering over the shutter, blindly hoping to capture a good shot. I only got a handful of photos, and of course, my tendency to put things off means that I am only now posting them, a year later. So, if you’re a lover of jazz, black and white photos, or just here to see what I posted, enjoy!
Whether you’re a jazz enthusiast or not, check out my favourite Mulatu Astatke songs – Tizita (Nostalgia), and Ene Alantchie Alnorem (I cannot live without you).