ethiopia / united-states

East African-flavoured jazz and soul

With the rightful acclaim granted in recent years to the golden age of Ethiopian music from the ’60s and early ’70s, it’s also important to embrace both present and future. The woman known simply as Meklit knows this. A keen disciple of the work of legendary composer/bandleader Mulatu Astatke, she’s radically updated his Ethio-jazz blueprint for the 21st century, at the same time making it deeply resonant of her own experience. Born in Ethiopia and raised at various points across the United States, her music reflects exactly who she is and where she’s been, with her homeland being refracted through the filter of American jazz and soul. Along the way, she’s also picked up a rather fine testimonial from the celebrated author Walter Mosley. “Meklit has taken all that jazz has to offer and then broadcast it back to us in popular mode. We don’t have to reach for her music because it beckons to us.” True, true words.

Check out our Discover #WOMAD2018 Spotify playlist here