Mulatu Astatke (var. Astatqé) is an Ethiopian musician and arranger. He is known as the “Father of Ethio-Jazz.” Born in 1943 in the western Ethiopian city of Jimma, Astatke was musically trained in London, New York City, and Boston, where he was the first African student at Berklee College of Music. He would later combine his jazz and Latin music influences with traditional ethiopian music.
In 2005, his music appeared on the soundtrack to the Jim Jarmusch film Broken Flowers (actually, it inspired the film).
He is also active in the Wallias Band.
In 2009, Mulatu Astatke paires up with The Heliocentrics to record the Inspiration Information 3 album. This studio collaboration is part of Strut’s Inspiration Information studio collaboration series. The major part of this album was laid down at Quatermass studios, an analogue HQ in East London during 8th to 14th September 2008. Alongside Mulatu Astatke, London-based Ethiopian musicians including Dawit Gebreab, Yezina Nagash, Mesafnit Nagash and Temesgen Taraken guested on several tracks, contributing traditional sounds using instruments like the krar (a six-stringed, five tone instrument), washint (a flute traditionally made from bamboo) and Begena (a ten string instrument dating back to the 15th century, sometimes referred to as “David’s Harp”).