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Mulatu Astatke

Mulatu Astatke poses with a flamboyant drum stick

The father of Ethio-Jazz, Mulatu Astatke blesses us with his presence for a solo show alongside guests Fatima & Eglo Live Band, Ruby Rushton and Seb Rochford (Polar Bear).

Not many musicians can claim to have invented a genre, but Astatke is one of them. With touches of funky wah-wah synths, rolling saxophones, ethereal flutes, and the relentless drive of Afro-Cuban rhythms, Astatke’s unique tracks reflect what Ethio-Jazz was designed to do - get feet moving and bodies grooving.

Astatke's sound flourished during the ‘Swinging Addis’ era of the late 1960s, when he successfully fused Western Jazz and Funk with traditional Ethiopian folk melodies, five tone scale arrangements and the influence of ancient Ethiopian Orthodox church music. In a career that has spanned five decades and numerous triumphant appearances here, he remains as relevant and inspirational today as he did in his formative years.

Produced by Soundcrash


‘Mulatu Astatke’s exuberant blend of the best in African and western-themed improvisation is a finely balanced craft‘
The Guardian
‘He weaves his highly individual magic in an infectious and mysterious style‘
BBC Music


photo of album cover

Listen: Ethiopiques album

Listen to Ethiopiques, Mulatu Astatke's classic album that shines a fabulous spotlight on a hidden corner of jazz.


photo of carleen anderson singing

Watch: Barbican Session - Carleen Anderson

In this Barbican Session, Soul singer Carleen Anderson performs Before Me from her album 'Cage Street Memorial' in our conductor's dressing room.

Barbican Hall