One of Ethiopia’s greatest jazz musicians and bandleaders, Mulatu Astatke, and UK psych-jazz collective The Heliocentrics have landed the ‘Music – Best Album’ award at this year’s 4th Trophées Des Arts Afro-Caribéens.
Broadcast this year on national TV channel, France 2, the awards were first created with the support of the late Martinique poet and political commentator Aimé Césaire, in 2006. One of the founders of the concept of ‘Negritude’ during the ‘30s, reacting against the ‘cultural alienation’ which took place during French colonisation of the Caribbean, Césaire was an ardent supporter and promoter of Afro-Caribbean culture during his lifetime.
The award for Astatke and The Heliocentrics caps a great year for the band following strong critical reaction to their album and a hectic touring schedule: “everyone from the band has worked very hard and I thank The Heliocentrics, !K7 / Strut, Karen P and Red Bull Music Academy very much,” explains Mulatu. “This award was entirely unexpected and is great for Ethiopia and for Ethio jazz.”
Other winners at this year’s awards included Ivory Coast’s Magic System (Best Group), Guadeloupe singer Erik (Best Newcomer) and Reunion vocalist Davy Sicard (Best Artist).