Addis Ababa, April 29, 2022(Walta) – Mulatu Astatke, 79, pioneer of Ethiopian jazz, the fusion of local music and western jazz is looking to integrate Ethiopian and Turkish music to regale audiences and inspire musicians.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency on eve of World Jazz Day, which is being observed on Saturday, Astatke described Ethiopian jazz as a globally acknowledged musical innovation.
He said that Ethiopia and Turkey maintain century-old good relations, and this behooves musicians in both countries to honor and cement relationships further through music.
“I have been seriously contemplating on how to compose a beautifully integrated music of the two nations. I call this possible musical project — Ethio-Turkish fusion,” he said.
“In a divided and hostile global situation, Ethio-Turkish fusion could musically present to the world the benefits of maintaining peaceful and trustworthy relations between the people and governments of Ethiopia and Turkey,’’ he said.
Astatke, who perused musical studies at Trinity College in London and the Berklee College of Music in Boston, USA, called upon agencies of both governments to help him to realize his dream.
“As a musicologist, I still study different countries’ music and Turkey is one of them,” he said, noting that the notable cultural and musical similarities between the two countries serve as an impetus for his thoughts on musical creation.
Marked by eerie and ancient-sounding tones, typical of traditional Ethiopian music, Ethiopian jazz or Ethio-jazz is a unique blend of traditional Ethiopian music with jazz, West African musical styles, and Latin rhythms.
“Ethio-jazz, as I call it, is a creative fusion of the pentatonic scale –based Ethiopian traditional music with the 12-note western jazz and instrumentation,” said Astatke.
He claims to have succeeded in constructing a unique genre while maintaining the authenticity, color, and texture of Ethiopian music.
This is the science of Ethio-jazz. Ethio-jazz has also the touches of Afro-funk, Soul, and Latin rhythms,” he said.