Promoting East African music and Africa’s influence on the world

Mulatu Astatke -

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia – Age is not a factor for the great Dr. Mulatu Astatke. On any given Saturday, you can catch the 71-year-old Ethio-jazz inventor hopping back and forth from the timbales, congas and, of course, vibraphone with the same tenacity as his younger musical counterparts at his African Jazz Village club in Addis Ababa.

This past weekend, Juan Gomez, a photojournalist, deejay, and researcher of African music currently based out of Oakland, California, caught up with Mulatu to discuss his latest efforts in promoting East African music and his thoughts on Africa’s influence on the world.

Juan Gomez for Okayafrica: It’s an honor to be here with you. What have you been up lately?

Mulatu Astatke: I’ve been traveling; I’ve been playing all over the world. Always, my base is Addis Ababa, but I travel and go in-and-out of Addis. I’ll be leaving next week to America and I’m meeting different musicians plus with a great promoter in New York. We’re going to talk about starting this university of Ethio-jazz. I have also written a bit for an opera, which is called Yared opera. It’s based on the Ethiopian Orthodox Church and its contribution for conducting music.

Source: The Reporter