May 22, 2019
Today we’re listening to Mulatu Astatke, an Ethiopian vibraphonist, percussionist, and composer. Known as the "father of Ethio-jazz," Astatke creates beautiful and spooky pieces that are the epitome of cool. His compositions fuse New York jazz with Latin percussion and traditional Ethiopian folk. The result is something that feels timeless yet new. Its "spookiness" comes from the repeated use of diminished chords, or the “devil’s interval.” The rhythms are funky, which makes the music very sampleable: Astatke’s catalogue was discovered by many Westerners via samples on songs by Nas, Madlib, and Kanye West. At age 75, Astatke just finished a USA tour, and is about to tour Europe.
Have a really good day today.