Ethiopian artist and composer Mulatu Astatke is set to perform on Friday 20 November as a new cultural centre, Warehouse421, is launched in the city of Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates. The launch event will take place over a period of three days from 19 to 21 November in the area of Mina Zayed.
With his own place in jazz history seemingly cemented, Astatke is now working on sharing his knowledge with the next generation. Astatke recorded his first two albums, Afro-Latin Soul, Volumes 1 & 2, in New York City in 1966. In 1998, the Parisian record label Buda Musique began to reissue many of the Ethio-jazz recordings on CD as part of the popular series Éthiopiques. The first of these reissues to be dedicated to a single artist was Éthiopiques Volume 4: Ethio Jazz & Musique Instrumentale, 1969–1974, Mulatu Astatke. The album brought Astatke's music to a new international audience, perhaps the largest in his career. Astatke kept a relatively low profile during the 1990s, with his music only found in certain underground circles. He enjoyed something of a resurgence in the 2000s among western audiences, thanks to his songs being featured in the 2005 Jim Jarmusch film Broken Flowers. The filmmaker featured seven songs by Astatke.
Other acts on the bill for the UAE launch are Grammy-winning Tuareg band Tinariwen, who will set the pace for the three-day activities with their compositions of Berber and North African rhythms on 19 November. On 21 November, Swedish-based band Tarabband, made up of six folk musicians originating from countries around the Arab world, will narrate their globe-trotting journey of personal survival, exile, life and rebirth influenced by folk, flamenco and jazz. Urban Acts, an exciting group of athletes and dancers, will engage audiences throughout the three-day event with their unique forms of creative expression including contemporary dances and display of acrobatics.
For information about the Warehouse421 performances visit the website.