Mulatu Astatke & The Black Jesus Experience
Mulatu Astatke is the creator of an entire musical genre, Father of Ethio-Jazz, and one of Africa's most influential and enduring musical figures.
Mulatu was at the heart of Ethiopia’s urban music renaissance during the latter part of the 20thC. He came to renewed world prominence through the ‘Ethiopiques’ record series and the soundtrack to Jim Jarmusch’s ‘Broken Flowers’. Mulatu continues to explore the relationship between ancient and modern Ethiopian music, receiving an Honorary Doctorate from Berklee College of Music in recognition of this.
Black Jesus Experience is Australia’s premier Ethio-funk ensemble, born of Australia's vibrant multiculturalism. Mulatu and Black Jesus Experience met in Addis Ababa in 2009, starting an enduring musical friendship.
Mulatu describes Black Jesus Experience as, "My favourite backing band." Mulatu and Black Jesus Experience have performed at major venues and events in Africa, Europe, UK, Australia and New Zealand including Glastonbury, Womad, Bushfire and The United Nations (yes the UN). Together they won multiple industry awards for their recordings and tours.
Mulatu's creative genius is to combine jazz and funk grooves with Ethiopia's distinctive pentatonic scales and to contrast these minimalist scales with richly chromatic harmony.
“Rousing borderless Jazz vision”
“A master craftsman and one of the most supremely inventive composers of all time.” Pitchfork
“A wonderful mix of sinuous grooves, angular vibes, soul, funk and hip hop that both honour and progress the original source.”
ABC Radio National – Matthew Crawford
“An earthquake in Wellywood.. standing, screaming, wolf-whistling, hand-clapping, foot-stomping, booty- shakin’, fist-pumping and dancing in the aisles.”
Colin Morris – Radio New Zealand
“… the overall effect of Sunday’s concert was a seductive invitation into Astatke’s unique sound world – a world that is still entrancing audiences 40 years after it was created.” The The Age