Melaku Belay is an Ethiopian traditional dancer born at Addis Abeba in 1980. Early, he showed some aptitude and interest for the different kind of dances that punctuates the everyday life of Ethiopian people. He learned his passion among his people, dancers and performers who transmitted him the tradition during major festivals as Timqat, or during school gathering. At the beginning of his professional career he received intensive trainings of performing and choreography at the National Theater of Ethiopia. He also attended several workshops at Ras Theater and Hager Fikir Theater, the oldest indigenous theatre in Africa. Later on, he developed his talent and his ability through different experiences and trainings, mastering no less than 30 different dances.
But, Melaku is above all a free spirit, who has refused to restraint himself in an imposed and academic “traditional” style. As a self-taught dancer, he has taken his inspiration inside the Ethiopian society itself, and among the bearers of the tradition. Throughout his carrier, he has tried to create and develop his own style according to his own experiences and researches through his country, with a touch of improvisation and fantasy. For Melaku, tradition doesn’t have to be frozen or static, but vibrant, audacious and innovative
Thus in his formative years, Melaku has performed with several cultural groups such as Wintana Creative Arts Center, Save Your Generation Ethiopia, Minch’s band in the whole Ethiopia; and with Mahmoud Ahmed’s band in Djibouti, Manalbosh Dibo band in Niger and Mali. He has worked also every night with the traditional Ethiopian musicians, called “Azmari”, in Fendika since almost 15 years. As tradition is also the foundation of modern Ethiopian music, Melaku has performed also with Ethiopian jazz band like Addis Acoustic Projet and Nubian Ark. He has danced all over Ethiopia and in several places as; Sheraton Addis, Hilton International, Alliance Ethio-Francaise of Addis Abeba and Dire-Daoua, Hager Fikir Theather, National Theatre, Club Alizé, Coffee House, Ghion Hotel, and Fendika Azmari bet..
Melaku has also developed his work at in international level, making a real fusion between his traditional musical background and modern music. Since 2007, he has travelled and played in Ethiopian and around the world with the Ex band and Getatchew Mekurya, Le Tigre des Platanes , Badume's band, Le Bruit du Sign, Debo band, Trondheim World Music band, Chili Con Carne band, Imperial Tiger Orchestra, Ukandanz, Akalé Wubé…and others, but also with his own band, Fendika band. More than 50 international concert to his credit in several prestigious scenes and festival like: le Cabaret Sauvage, la cité de la musique, le Point Ephémère and le Quai Branly museum in Paris, the Lincoln Center in New-York, the Millennium Park in Chicago, the Black Cat in Washington and the Bimhuis at Amsterdam, the Sauti Za Busara Festival in Zanzibar, Africolor Festival and Jazz à la Villette Festival in Paris, TFF Rudolstadt World Music Festival in Germany...ect.
But Melaku is not only a dancer, he is also "a cultural entrepreneur" trying to support and develop the cultural and musical wealth of his country. Since 2008, he is managing one of the most famous Azmari place in Addis Abeba, the Fendika by introducing an innovative idea to his traditional setting. Indeed, during the special events which regularly occurred in Fendika, he has invited many guests, from both Ethiopian and foreign spheres, creating a place which offers a symbiosis between tradition and modernity. He has started also another great project with some friends: the Ethiocolor cultural band, bringing together the cream of the crop of traditional musicians of Addis Abeba. Their goal is to demonstrate that the immense musical heritage of Ethiopia can be performed with a great degree of creativity, while still maintaining its identity. Melaku is also a young man full of projects and ideas to develop the potential of Ethiopian culture.(see PROJECT)
MELAKU's carrier in few dates
Melaku starts to learn dance within his people in some religious festival like Timkat, or in Wedding
Beginning of his carrier in Fendika Azmari bet as a dancer
|1997 - 2007||
Melaku's formative years. Performances and workshops in National Theatre, Ras Theatre and Hager Fikir Theatre. First experiences abroad in Djibouti, Mali and Niger with Mahmoud Ahmed’s band and Manalbosh Dibo band
|2006 - 2008||
Dance teaching for the students of 'Alliance Française' in Addis Abeba.
First experience in France (April/May) at Valenciennes, program 'résidents du monde' (concerts, workshops).
First participation at the 19th Africolor festival in Paris in collaboration with Badume's band, The Ex band and Le Tigre des Platanes.
International tour with the Ex band and Getatchew Mekuria, more than 20 concerts in Europe and United States. Beginning as Fendika's new manager and artistic director.
Ethiopian and french tour with Eténèsh Wassié et Le Tigre des Platanes.
In April, beginning of Ethiocolor band in Fendika.
European and canadian tour with the Ex and Getatchew Mekuria.
Participation at the 20th Africolor festival with his own band (Fendika) and also with Le Bruit du Sign, Le Tigre des Platanes.
Ethiopian tour with Le Bruit du Sign.
Participation at the Za Busara festival in Zanzibar with Debo Band.
Different tour and concerts in Europe with the Ex band & Getatchew Mekuria, Ukandanz &Asnake Guebreyes, the Azmari of Addis, and his own band Fendika
Participation at the TFF Rudolstadt festival in Germany.
US tour with Fendika and Debo band
Participation at the 21th Africolor festival with members of Fendika
Selam Festival in Addis Abeba with Ethiocolor band.
Ethiopian tour with the Ex band
Tour in France with Addis Azmari band
Melaku has presented his creation "Enitewawek" @ Alliance française of Addis Abeba
Creation and realization of his experimental movie "Ahun.Performing Mercato".
European tour with the Ex band and Getatchew Mekuria
French residence with Akalé Wubé band
Upcoming concerts in USA, Europe and Africa
Concert with Ethiocolor band @ Fendika, Alliance Ethio-française
US TOUR with Fendika and Debo band
European tours with the Ex band and Getatchew Mekuria
Spain tour with Ethiocolor
Sweden and Norway tour with Ethiocolor
Fendika and Le Baroque Nomade on tour in France
US TOUR with Fendika
Melaku presents "Meeting.A sound and dance performance" in Alliance française (collaboration)
European tour with the Ex band
Concerts with Invernomuto and Skinshout in Novarra Festival, ITALY.
Ethio-flamenco concert in
Participation to International Exposure 2013 in Tel Aviv, Israel
Fendika in concert in Alliance Ethio-française with Alemu Aga