Melaku Belay & Fendika
Fendika, a troupe of the most accomplished azmari musicians and dancers from Addis Ababa, draws from the well of Ethiopia’s bardic tradition while adding creative movements and sounds that revitalize their ancient artistic forms. Fendika features seven performers – two dancers, two singers, and instruments including kebero drums, masenko (a one-stringed bowed fiddle), and krar (a five- or six-stringed lyre).
Founded in 2009 by Melaku Belay, Ethiopia’s leading dancer and a respected cultural ambassador, the ensemble is based at Melaku’s renowned music club Fendika Azmari Bet in the Kazanchis neighborhood of Addis Ababa. In Ethiopian culture, an azmari bet is a traditional music house where people are entertained, informed, and sometimes playfully insulted by the azmari who commentate on current events commentators while they dance, sing, and play.
Melaku is a virtuoso interpreter of eskista, a traditional Ethiopian trance dance of athletic shoulder movements that presage hip hop movements of breaking and popping. He has traveled throughout Ethiopi, learning the dance traditions of the country’s 80 tribal groups. The musicians and dancers of Fendika present a cultural journey starting in the highlands of Tigray, Wollo, Gonder, and Gojam, also including dances from the Somali and Afar regions and southern Ethiopian dance forms from the Gurage, Wolaita, and Konso traditions.
Red Bay Coffee
Saturday, October 6 • 7PM
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