Monday, October 17, 2011

Mulatu Astatke Live @ The Sugar Club Dublin 16/10/2011

Last night The Sugar Club in Dublin provided a rare treat for many jazz fans with the appearance of the legendary Ethiopian arranger and musician Mulatu Astatke.
The first time I heard of this man was during the late 1990's while listening to an interview that Elvis Costello gave to John Kelly on The Mystery Train radio show. Costello had a keen interest in the Ethiopiques compilation albums that were being released around that time on the french Buda Musique record label.
Ethiopiques Volume 4: Ethio Jazz & Musique Instrumentle 1969-1974 is dedicated solely to the music of Mulatu Astatke and is arguably one of finest releases of the series.
This is  'Yegella Tezeta' one of the standout tracks from that album...

A packed house in Dublin last night signalled the vast appreciation of Astatke's visit and of course the 68 year old was clearly flattered.
Vibraphone seems to be the preferred instrument of his onstage, but he also played keyboards and organ along with other percussion. His band of 8 musicians were modestly outstanding playing saxophone, trumpet, percussion, 2 cellos and guitar.
A front row perch on the floor at The Sugar Club wasn't what I had expected at last night's gig but the slight physical discomfort was cancelled out by the sheer mesmerising sounds produced by this fine group.
Towards the final 20 minutes or so of the show, some could not take the sitting down anymore and found their feet taking on a life of their own and dancing to the rhythms that took control. This was positively one of the most memorable concerts I have been fortunate enough to have seen.
This is 'Yekermo Sew' another one of the pieces he played last night....


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