Home > Music > Mulatu Astatke on Ethiopian music

Mulatu Astatke on Ethiopian music

Here is a link from Harvard University Gazette Online on Mulatu Astatke’s primer that he gave on Ethiopia’s contributions to world music Feb.27.

As was pointed out in the article, he is writing music for an electronic opera, and the first section of it will premiere in Harvard’s Sanders Theatre April 14.

The article also gives some background information about his early schooling, and the ups and down of his musical careers, where in the Derg he was pressured out of one university job for promoting “imperialist music”.Interesting stuff.

A very useful reminder of a very familiar story, presented in a way which will appeal to many who know the story well.

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Categories: Music
  1. Alethia
    March 12, 2008 at 3:24 pm

    Hi Arefe:

    Thanks a lot for posting Mulatu’s great story. The Harvard event in April looks like a fabulous one.

    Thanks again for the post.

    Cheers,

    Alethia

  2. E
    March 13, 2008 at 1:24 am

    Mulatu’s story is a great example of how one can make a difference in a country—like Ethiopia—where making a difference can sometimes be considered a crime or even worse, a treason.

    I admire him. He could have stayed in the US for the rest of his life and earned a hard cash just like most of the Ethiopian Diaspora do. But he chose to go back, to give back to the people who mean A LOT to him. His students in Ethiopia must feel privileged and lucky to have such a great mentor near them.

    I wish all the talented Ethiopians, from all fields of study, can find a way to contribute their talents to our poor country that needs them the most!

    Mulatu is a living example to show that politics cannot always be an excuse to shy away from sweet home—Ethiopia. There is always a way to make a difference regardless of external challenges if one is willing to sacrifice.

    Let us not wallow in the valley of despair, I say to you today, my friends.

    And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the Ethiopian dream.

    I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of being Ethiopian—that we are people of multi-ethnic complexion yet we can live in peace and harmony—that we can alter and improve the old, he said, without compromising the tonal qualities that underlie Ethiopiawinet.”

    Ethiopia will rise!

    ***

    Martin Luther King:

    Let us not wallow in the valley of despair, I say to you today, my friends.

    “And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

    I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”‘

    Mulatu Astatike:

    “If traditional instruments are limited, young players will turn to more versatile Western instruments — and lose a sense of their own culture, said Mulatu. There are ways to alter and improve the old, he said, without compromising the tonal qualities that underlie Ethiopian music.”

    Truly,

    E

  3. Ojulu
    June 28, 2008 at 11:35 am

    I agree with E. This man(Mulatu Astatike) is more than a role model to any Ethiopian artist. He is a genius. He instilled Ethiopiawinet in marginaized Ethiopians through his work more than any Ethiopian politician has ever done by introducing their traditions into the mainstream Ethiopian performing arts. If you ever grew up hearing an instrument called Toum from Gambela playing before 7:00 A.M. news during the Dergue, saw a jet black guy on ETV, “Hizb le Hizb Tour”, playing a base Kirar, someone enthusiastically playing an instrument to a Walaita song and etc.. it was because of Mulatu’s appreciation Ethiopian diversity in culture. He introduced every Ethiopian to one another culturally. He didn’t pull them apart. May he live longer!

  4. August 30, 2011 at 3:15 am

    የሙላቱ concert አለ ሲባል ደስ ደስ ይለኛል

  1. March 12, 2008 at 3:29 pm
  2. March 13, 2008 at 1:29 am

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