Mulatu Astatke, the father of “Ethio Jazz” was bestowed the Order des Arts et des Lettres by France’s Minister of Culture, Franck Riester, who was on a three-day visit to Ethiopia, this week.
Following the minister’s visit to Lalibella as part of the restoration effort promised during the state visit of Emmanuel Macron, the President of France, earlier this year; Mulatu was presented with the honor inside the embassy’s compound in Bela.
“You are someone valued in France and you remain to have big followers. We always anticipate your arrival in our nation and always look forward to your performances,” the minister said while presenting him the award. “You have brought the Ethiopian music to the international arena.”
The minister was met with high-level government officials and stakeholders as he visited Lalibella and the capital. His visit to the historical site took place on Wednesday, meeting with stakeholders, and has held discussions with members of the community. In Addis Ababa, he helped inaugurate the exhibition, “20 years of Ethiopian contemporary painting, inside the Alliance Ethio- Francaise,” the following day.
During the visit of President Macron, in March this year, the highlight had been to kick start a cultural and heritage partnership that was initiated by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (PhD).
There has been a growing interest to help support the recent reforms within Ethiopia and France continues to play a powerful role. The visit of President Macron was the first such visit by the leader of the French Republic.
“I am delighted to have been honored with this and it heartens me to know my music is being appreciated here at home and abroad. I have always intended that to be my legacy, and the French people have always been kind to me,” Mulatu told The Reporter.