Mulatu Astatke's jazz concert in Melbourne
Photography and words: Befekir Kebede | Saturday, 15 May 2010
Mulatu Astatke, 69 in 2012, is one of Ethiopia's greatest jazz players who started playing in his early youth. He is one of the giants in the Ethiopian pop and jazz music production arena and made his Australian debut in 2010 taking part in the Melbourne International Jazz Festival.
Joined by a local Australian band by the name of The Black Jesus Experience, Mulatu performed in a packed theatre in central Melbourne, receiving frequent standing-ovation. The whole concert was put together to give the Australian audience a taste of the Ethio-Jazz genre – a genre that Mulatu invented. To the Ethiopians in the audience, it was a familiar sound of fine music reminiscent of Ethiopia. And to Australian jazz lovers, it was a performance infused with traditional and contemporary Ethiopian musical notes that left them stunned. Australians are not used to seeing this types of world-class performances by a band from countries like Ethiopia and those at Mulatu’s concert were truly fascinated by his skills. And this is what the concert looked like.