Cultural Instigator Comes to Jax: Meklit Infuses Her Deep African Roots in a Musical Stew of Flavors Ranging from Jazz, Soul, Blues and Pop

Photo by John Nilsen

It’s a global beat you can dance to. Atypical Arts Presents in partnership with the Jacksonville Museum of Science & History (MOSH) presents an evening of unique, world music of Meklit Feb 17 at MOSH.

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As a vocalist, composer and songwriter, Meklit is a “cultural instigator,” infusing her deep African roots in a musical stew of flavors ranging from jazz, soul, blues and pop. Born in Ethopia, the world-renowned artist is influenced by the world around her, infusing Ethio-Jazz with her own storytelling voice.

Her latest record is the critically acclaimed, When The People Move, The Music Does Too, is a collaboration with Grammy Award-winning songwriter/producer Dan Wilson featuring guest appearances by Andrew Bird and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band. Wilson has worked with such artists as Adele, John Legend and the Dixie Chicks. The 11 deeply personal tracks were inspired by Mulatu Astatke, known as the Godfather of Ethio-Jazz. In 2011, he urged Meklit to “find your contribution to Ethio-Jazz and keep on innovating.”

by Steve Pierce

When The People Move, The Music Does Too reached #4 on the iTunes World Music chart and has recently been named to numerous Best Of 2017 lists. Meklit’s live performance at Lincoln Center’s Atrium has been selected as one of the best concerts in New York City in 2017. She has performed alongside Angelique Kidjo and Anoushka Shankar as a featured singer in the UN Women Theme Song.

In addition to a critically acclaimed musical talent, Meklit is also a TED Senior Fellow. Her TED Talk, The Unexpected Beauty of Everyday Sounds, has been viewed by more than 1.2 million people. She has addressed such topics as developing the skill sets for a creative career, women in songwriting and Immigrant Music for the American Identity. Meklit has received musical commissions from the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts and the MAP Fund. She has embarked on national and international tours, including East Africa.

Photo by Tessa Shimizu

Meklit has also served as Artist in residence at NYU and collaborated with such visionaries as NASA Astrophysicist Jon Jenkins, music legend Pee Wee Ellis and the BBC Harmonic. She co-founded the Nile Project, a network established to inform and inspire Nile citizens to help them collaborate on cultivating the sustainability of their river.

About Liza Mitchell

october, 2021

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