I thought for the final post of # Warm Visions February I would end things on a grand slam. Many folks probably know this song, but if you don’t then dang – you’re in for a treat. Mulatu Astatke is an Ethiopian jazz musician, possibly the most famous one. For good reason – his songs are incredibly accessible even to an ultra-casual fan of jazz, and it’s just so dang lovely.
I actually was turned onto this guy by Eric Andre’s “What’s In My Bag” Amoeba video from a few years back. He described Ethiopian jazz as “funky but also really cumbersome” and then didn’t follow it up with an audio preview, so I had to check it out. Sure enough, Eric was right, to a degree. The faster paced songs are definitely funky and kind of junky at the same time, but the slower, smoother songs is where the dreaminess comes in.
On personal terms, this record (Ethiopiques 4) was one of the main tools I used to get through my incredibly stressful final semester of college. That and Sun Araw and my friends and my partner. It’s a really important album to me and I hope you find some personal light in it as well.
And I mean, if you’re still only on the indie rock bandwagon (at this point, why are you reading my blog? I’m trying to get you to branch out), Fleet Foxes sampled this song at the end of a song on Crack-Up, and King Gizzard And The Lizard Wizard named a song after this on Sketches Of Brunswick East. I also saw Nai Palm of Hiatus Kaiyote perform solo and she gave Astatke and this song a shout out. I was the only one in the venue who screamed in recognition. There are probably plenty more references out there, but these are the ones I know. It’s a trusted brand. Even past that, you need to listen.