A transcendent form of communication

Graduating this week with a Doctor of Musical Arts, Lucien Johnson’s research examines Ethio-Jazz and explores the ways in which music can travel and be adopted by musicians in search of their own sense of identity and individuality.

Dr Johnson discusses the adaptation of popular Western genres in the 1960s and 70s by Ethiopian musicians who melded them with their traditional scales and rhythms to create an original musical style named Ethio-Jazz. In the last 10 years this music has become a cult sensation, inspiring many bands and composers around the world to create their own versions.

“We talk about music as a universal language, but I think this is a surface-level observation. For me it’s more like a transcendent form of communication.”