Fendika is a ferocious five-piece Ethiopian band with two phenomenal dancers.

Fendika is a troupe of highly accomplished Azmari musicians and dancers which was founded in 2009 by the leading dancer Melaku Belay. The musicians and dancers of Fendika present a cultural journey starting in the highlands of Tigray, Wollo, Gonder, and Gojam and so on.

The ensemble is based at Melaku’s famous music club Fendika Azmari Bet in Addis Abeba. An interesting fact is that in Ethiopian culture, an Azmari bet is a traditional house of music where people visit in order 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.

Today Melaku Belay is one of Ethiopia’s foremost dancers of the eskesta, a traditional Ethiopian trance dance of athletic shoulder movements. As Melaku was growing up as a street kid, he learned many regional dances of Ethiopia. Nevertheless, he has travelled throughout Ethiopia to learn the dance traditions of the country’s 80 tribal groups.

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