Mulatu Astatke: The Man & His Influence

Mulatu Astatke is a musical titan, in the same league as the likes of Fela Kuti and King Sunny Ade, yet he was first recognized to most people when The Paris-based world music record label, Buda Musique devoted the entire 4th installment of their respected series, Ethiopiques, to his compositions in 1998.

Astatke was born in 1943 in a town called Jimma in Ethiopia. His family sent him abroad to Wales to study chemical engineering, and instead, he came home with a degree in Music and a whole new sound brewing in his head. After Wales, he proceeded to the prestigious Berklee College of Music becoming the first African student to attend, studying the Vibraphone and percussion.

Mulatu Astatke – “Asosa” (from Mulatu Steps Ahead on Strut Records)
 

Read more, grab a few downloads, samples and more Ethiopian-influenced hip-hop after the jump.

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GPWW 3/22/10: A Conversation With K’NAAN

This week GPWW features a discussion with the rising Somalian hip-hop star, K’NAAN. K’NAAN has recently been featured on tracks with Mary J Blige and Mos Def, and is currently touring the US with Wale. Of course Gilles Peterson continues to find new artists from all over the world, and this mix includes everything from Afro-beat on Strut Records and newly reissued Latin music, to Blue Note classics and new albums by Cobblestone Jazz and Paul Weller.

Stream Part 1
 

Stream Part 2
 

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More Info & Tracklist

Videos After the Jump:
K’NAAN – “ABC’s” Live at Filmore at Irving Plaza (NYC) 3/31/10
Friends We Love: Gilles Peterson shares his insight on having the best job in the world and what has kept him going as a career DJ for 30 years.

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J. Period and K’NAAN – Part 1 of The Messengers

J.Period & K’NAAN are pleased to present the first installment of The Messengers, a tribute to Fela Kuti, Bob Marley & Bob Dylan. Episode #1 pays tribute to Fela, Nigeria’s eminent musical activist and arguably the most influential artist to emerge from Africa this century. Fela grew to international fame with his revolutionary, political views and an innovative style of music called “Afrobeat,” a genre he invented, combining soul, funk and African rhythms. Join J.Period & Somali-born MC K’NAAN as they pay tribute to Fela by remixing and reinventing his classic work on part 1 of The Messengers.

Guest MC’s include: Zumbi (Zion I) & Bajah (Dry Eye Crew) from Sierra Leone.

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD [zip file]

The Messengers: Fela Kuti, Bob Marley & Bob Dylan

cc-thumbJ Period and K’NAAN collaborate to form The Messengers mixtape.  The Messengers is a project dedicated to three different music legends: Fela Kuti, Nigeria’s eminent musical activist; Bob Marley, Jamaica’s emissary of struggle and unity; and Bob Dylan, America’s reluctant Civil Rights song leader.

Weaving afro-beat, reggae, ska, folk music and rock into this genre-bending musical experience, The Messengers stretches the boundaries of hip hop—and the mixtape genre itself. Remixing the classic work of Fela, Marley and Dylan, The Messengers captures the timelessness of their sounds and the continued urgency of their messages.

J.Period & K’NAAN will pay tribute to each of “The Messengers” individually with a new release every Tuesday in September:

Fela Kuti (September 1)

Bob Marley (September 8 )

Bob Dylan (September 15)

The Messengers in its entirety (including additional bonus tracks and artwork) on September 22.

Download “The Messenger” (Digi EP), a 3-song sneak preview of The Messengers

K’NAAN’s Video For “T.I.A” Directed By NABIL

The opening track to K’NAAN’s socially conscious Troubadour (A&M/Octone), “T.I.A.” now has a stunning collage of visual effects to enhance its message. Directed by NABIL (the man responsible for Kanye’s “Welcome To Heartbreak” video), the partially animated clip depicts K’NAAN in a Made In Africa t-shirt, against a highly stylized backdrop of traditional garb, AK’s, handguns, grassland savannas, head sculptures and a kaleidescope of flag colors and currency from the motherland. This is Africa.

More info, streams and videos here.