Mulatu (Ethiopians are generally referred to by their first names) just completed a 2007-08 Radcliffe Institute Fellowship at Harvard University, where his goals were to research how to develop the krarr, a traditional Ethiopian five-string instrument, with electronic music specialists; write an opera based on Ethiopian Coptic Church music written around AD 380, which will be conducted using the mekwamia, an ancient conducting stick; and write a book on the historical context of instruments used in the Ethiopian Coptic Church and their contribution to the development of world music. The first section of Mulatu's "The Yared Opera," which blends old and new was premiered at Harvard's Sanders Theater in April 2008. Mulatu hopes future performances of the opera which is based in part on the chant of St. Yared, the founder of Ethiopian church music, will feature live musicians in concert with the electronic version, and staged at the rock churches of Lalibela, a holy city in northern Ethiopia.moreless
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