Mulatu & Getachew in French music festival
Ethiopian musical giants Mulatu Astatke and Getachew Mekuria are in France to perform in Languedoc-Rousillon region’s summer festival.
The thirteenth edition of what is known as the Fiest’A Sète festival is expected to draw a large number of French and other European holiday makers and vacationers.
There is a strong African presence in the festival, including the Togolese Kakaro band and Peter Solo, the Nigerian Femi Kuti, the Ethiopians Mulatu Astatke and Getachew Mekuriya.
The Ethiopian musicians are scheduled to perform on August 3.
While creator of the Ethio-jazz Mulatu would pair with the UK’ s funky and jazz band Heliocentrics, the saxophonist Getachew would be playing with the EX, a Dutch band known for its free punk.
Known primarily through the successful ‘Ethiopiques’ album series and the film soundtrack to Jim Jarmusch’s ‘Broken Flowers’, Mulatu is one of Ethiopia’s foremost musical ambassadors. Informed by spells living and studying in the UK and the USA, his self-styled Ethio-jazz sound flourished during the “Swinging Addis” era of the late ‘60s as he successfully fused Western jazz and funk with traditional Ethiopian folk melodies, five tone scale arrangements and elements from music of the ancient Ethiopian Orthodox Church.
The Heliocentrics have become known as one of the UK’s foremost free-thinking collectives of musicians, inspired by a wide palette covering Sun Ra, James Brown, David Axelrod and all manner of psych, Afro and Eastern sounds. Now a fixture within the Stones Throw / Now Again roster, they forged their own genre-breaking directions in the astral analogue groove on their 2007 debut album, ‘Out There’.
The Ethiopian jazz saxophonist Getachew Mekuria first paired with the Dutch avant-garde punk band the EX in 2004 when he joined them to perform at their 25 anniversaries in Amsterdam.
In turn, Mekuria asked the Ex to be the backup band for his 2006 album, Moa Anbessa.
Getachew and the EX toured the Netherlands, Belgium and France together in 2006 and 2007.
(In the picture, Getachew Mekuriya playing his explosive saxophone in Paris, courtesy of lesnouvelles.org)
Watch a live performance of Mulatu Astatke and Heliocentric in London on 12 April 2008.
Getachew Mekuria & the EX here.
Official website of the festival