My latest library find is Mulatu Astatke’s concert from the Mochilla Timeless series. Timeless is a series of concerts put on to pay homage to people who have had a profound influence on hip hop. And Mulatu Astatke fits the bill. Astatke is the widely-sampled grandaddy of all things Ethio-jazz. If you’ve listened to K’Naan’s “ABC’s” off Troubadour or Nas and Damien Marley’s “As We Enter” off Distant Relatives, you’ve already rocked out to his work.
What blows me away is how wildly different every song on the CD is. The beats, the harmonies, the influences. Some of are clearly reminiscent of Latin jazz, but just as many of them make me feel like I’m listening to a breaking battle or a movie soundtrack. His music embodies style. The track for this week is Mulatu Astatke’s Kasalefkut Hulu: