MULATU ASTATKE – IBRAHIM MAALOUF
August 6, 2014 - 8:30 pm
Mulatu Astatke is regarded as the father of Ethio-jazz, a unique blend of traditional Ethiopian music, jazz, funk, reggae and Latin rhythms. His big breakthrough came in 2005 when eight of his tracks were used in Jim Jarmusch’s movie Broken Flowers.
Winner of the Best Jazz Artist award in the 2013 edition and the Best World Music album in the 2014 edition of the “Victoires de la Musique”, Lebanese trumpeter Ibrahim Maalouf plays a rare mix of jazz, blues, Middle Eastern, and Afro-Cuban music with his quarter-tone trumpet.
This magnificent evening will bring together these two artists and their bands for an exclusive double-bill!
Born in the western Ethiopian city of Jimma, Mulatu trained in London, New York City, and Boston where he combined his jazz and Latin music interests with traditional Ethiopian music and became the first African student to enroll at Boston’s prestigious Berklee College of Music from where he received an honourary degree in 2012.
Astatke led his band while playing vibraphone and conga drums—instruments that he introduced into Ethiopian popular music— other percussion instruments, keyboards and organ. His albums focus primarily on instrumental music, and Astatke appears on all three known albums of instrumentals that were released during Ethiopia’s Golden ’70s. He collaborated with many notable artists in the States and his home country, arranging and playing on recordings by Mahmoud Ahmed, and appearing as a special guest with Duke Ellington during a tour of Ethiopia in 1973.
His Western audience expanded even further when the 2005 Jim Jarmusch film Broken Flowers featured eight of Astatke’s songs. Hip hop artists have also sampled Astatke’s music extensively, for example in the works of Nas, Damian Marley, Kanye West, Cut Chemist, and Knaan. He toured with US band Either/Orchestra in 2006 and in 2008 recorded an album with the Heliocentrics and completed a Radcliffe Institute Fellowship at Harvard University, where he worked on modernizations of traditional Ethiopian instruments and premiered a portion of a new opera, The Yared Opera.
Mulatu Astatke still releases albums and tours on a regular basis with the Step Ahead band. Its current lineup includes the cream of the London jazz scene including Alex Hawkins, John Edwards, Byron Wallen and Tom Skinner. After collaborating on both 2010’s Mulatu Steps Ahead and 2013’s Sketches of Ethiopia they will be accompanying him on his 2014 tour and are coming to Lebanon!
After Diasporas (2007), Diachronism (2009), Diagnostic (2011), Ibrahim Maalouf released his 4th album Wind in 2012. It earned him the Jazz Artist of the Year award at the “Victoires de la Musique”. The following year he received the Best World Music Album award for his 2013 follow-up, Illusions.
After a prestigious classical career with several international honours (France, Hungary, Finland, USA), the 1st prize of the Higher National Conservatory of Music in Paris and after having collaborated with many symphony and chamber orchestras, as well as various ensembles throughout the world, Ibrahim Maalouf was named UNESCO’s “Young Artist Having worked for the Dialogue between the Arab world and the West”. He became a well-known figure on the music scene thanks to his collaboration with singers such as Sting, Amadou et Mariam, Lhasa de Sela, Salif Keita, Vanessa Paradis and many others who wanted to use his sound and his unique playing style to colour their music. Ibrahim was rapidly recognized by the Jazz world and his five albums were unanimously acclaimed by the national and international press.
In 2013, Ibrahim composed the soundtracks of Smart Ass (Kim Chapiron), Yves Saint Laurent (Jalil Lespert) and Red Rose (Sepideh Farsi). He writes music for symphonic orchestras and different ensembles (Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Orchestre Symphonique de Bretagne, Orchestre de Chambre de Paris…), focusing on more classic, modern and contemporary styles, while highlighting the quarter-tone trumpet invented by his father. Ibrahim also teaches improvisation for all instruments at the Higher National Conservatory in Paris.
Based in Paris, Ibrahim Maalouf remains the French instrumentalist with the highest sales in France over the last four years. In 2006, Ibrahim created his own label to produce his albums but also more recently to produce other projects and artists, such as slam poet Grand Corps Malade’s 4th album which was released in 2013.