Tag Archives: Mulatu Astatke

Celebrating 20 Years of Strut, Whose Compilations Span the Globe

Photography by Tim Craig

“When we started out we always wanted to relate our releases to dance music in some way,” says Quinton Scott from the London headquarters of his label Strut. “But that could mean anything from disco, soul, funk, and African music to post-punk and industrial.”

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This Week’s Essential Releases: Ethio-Jazz, Experimental Electronic, Cult Metal & More

7 essentials

Welcome to Seven Essential Releases, our weekly roundup of the best music on Bandcamp. Each week, we’ll recommend six new albums that were released between last Friday and this Friday, plus pick an older LP from the stacks that you may have missed.

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Album of the Day: Mulatu Astatke, “Afro Latin Soul”

The discography of Ethiopian jazz pioneer Mulatu Astatke has become the stuff of legend. Following the 2017 reissue of Astatke’s brilliant Mulatu of Ethiopia, stories spread of the musician’s early days in America in the 1960s and ‘70s. With Strut’s newest reissue, Afro Latin Soul Vols. 1 & 2, we hear Astatke’s first forays into the pioneering sound that would become his trademark.

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Mulatu Astatke’s “Ethiopia” Is A Love Letter To His Homeland

Mulatu Astatke

When Mulatu Astatke created his now-famed take on Ethio-jazz, his intentions were simple: to shine a light on himself and other musicians from Ethiopia, a country whose sound had been neglected far too long. To do this, Astatke took his favorite parts of other genres—Latin music, funk, and fusion—and concocted a fresh recipe. Before Astatke released Mulatu of Ethiopia in 1972, he still hadn’t found the right blend of genre and musicians to realize his vision. It finally clicked on that release.

Full of layered drums, floating horns, and infectious rhythms, with Astatke’s vibraphone fluttering across scales, the sound was considered revolutionary. “This music hadn’t been done before, so there were no reference points,” Astatke recalls.

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