As of today, the world gave birth to a musical messiah that could speak through his own Syntax,his vibraphone; the electric keyboards and the wah-wah pedal for the electric guitar; the use of congas and bongos to articulate Latin rhythms. Today the world mothered the father of Ethiopian Jazz music Mulatu Astatke.
When Astatke decided to return to his home country and set about introducing Ethio-jazz to his people Considered somewhat of a radical with his unconventional ideas and signature vibraphone, his music was initially met with mistrust, as many Ethiopians, strongly traditionalist having escaped colonization, feared cultural contamination of any form. With his insistence and dedication, Ethio-jazz eventually picked up momentum during the last days of Selassie’s reign, although its popularity remained in Ethiopia.
Today, there is a total renaissance, Ethiopia’s music colleges teach the history of Ethio-jazz as part of their prospectuses, with a new generation of Ethio-jazz musicians to take over. Inspired by the Ethio-jazz of Addis’ golden era, contemporary musicians together with the old Ethio-jazz masters are working towards bringing back the long lost melodies past in modern-day Ethiopia. Astounding
Astatke, just over 70 years old, is as vigorous as ever. He continues to innovate, modernizing traditional instruments, creating new opportunities for musical upbringings, diligently working on establishing a profound emblem of Ethio-jazz on the history of world music. Apart of participating actively in a number of festivals and speaking at international events, he has also established the African Jazz Village, a music school and jazz club to indorse Ethio-jazz in Addis Working closely with young bands and his students. Astatke is carving steps for the upcoming Ethio-jazz musicians. Not only the musical folklore is being passed on but he’s also making sure that the true cultural hue remains intact and is growing through the very strong Ethiopian pedigrees.