Fendika, a troupe of the most accomplished azmari musicians and dancers from Addis Ababa, draws deeply from the well of Ethiopia’s bardic tradition while adding creative movements and sounds that revitalize their ancient artistic forms. Fendika features six performers – two dancers, a singer, and instruments including kebero drums, masenko (a one-stringed bowed fiddle), and krar (a five- or six-stringed lyre). The Members are: Melaku Belay(dancer), Zinash Tsegaye (dancer) Misale Legesse (Kebero Drums), Seleshe Damassae (Krar), Endris Hassen (Masenko) and Nardos Tesfaw (Vocals).

Founded in 2008 by Melaku Belay, Ethiopia’s leading dancer and a respected cultural ambassador, the ensemble is based at Melaku’s famous music club, Fendika Azmari Bet, in the Kazanchis neighborhood of Addis Ababa. In Ethiopian culture, an azmari bet is a traditional house of music where people come to be entertained, informed, and sometimes playfully insulted by the azmari who serve as current events commentators while they dance, sing, and play for tips.

In 2011 Fendika toured with Debo Band where they made stops at the Lowell Folk Festival as well as Lincoln Center. Members of Fendika have toured Holland, Norway, Denmark, and Spain during Summer 2012, also appearing at the 35th International Sacred Music Festival at L’Abbaye de Sylvanés, France. In the summer of 2015 Fendika travelled to Europe for one of their most extensive tour yet, with performances in Belgium, Holland, Hungary, Switzerland, France, and later Italy, Germany, and Scandinavia


ETAddis Ababa, Ethiopia
In operation since: 


Melaku Belay
Profile added by In-house East Africa on 21 Oct 2015