Ethiocolor is a cultural traditional band consisting of Kirar ( a kind of lyre ), Bass Kirar, Washint (flute), Kebero (traditional drums) and Massinqo. This band, leading by the traditional dancer Melaku Belay, is the cream of the crop of cultural musicians and dancers of the country. All of them share the common priority to represent the traditional styles in an accurate, lively and new way, as well as to spread their music all over the world.
“Our goal is not just to assemble the best traditional musicians and create another folk ensemble. Our unique vision is to demonstrate that the immense musical heritage of Ethiopia can be performed with a great degree of creativity while still maintaining its identity”, says Melaku Belay, leader and founder of the cultural group.
Indeed, since its inception in 2009, word has spread fast for this young group. They have already won a wide audience in Addis Abeba and through the country. Moreover, each member of Ethiocolor possesses, extensive national and international experiences. Musicians and dancers have collaborated with traditional music projects, but also with jazz, rock, fusion, and hip hop ones. Thus, all these experiences separate Ethiocolor from other traditional groups by giving their music a special “color”.
The different dances offer a vibrant painting of Ethiopia in all her diversity. The journey starts in the highlands of Tigray, Wello, Gonder, Gojam. The rhythmic layers, costume changes, and especially the famous eskista, (an hypnotic and frenetic dance of the shoulders) is a thrill for the eyes and the ears.As the band smoothly transitions into a heavy 2/4 beat, and we travel now to Somali and Afar regions. Finally, Ethiocolor takes its audience to the south of Ethiopia, as we are introduced to the Gurage, Wolaita, and Konso musics and dances. Ethiocolor's show is a real invitation to discover the beauty of Ethiopia, the vitality of her music.
MEMBERS: Yohannes Aferworq (flute), Anteneh Teklemariam (bass kirar), Nardos Tasfaw (chant/vocals), Dagim (danse), Endres Hassen (mesenqo), Fasika Hailu (kirar), Frehiwot (dance), Hawa (chant/vocals), Selamnesh Zemene (chant/vocals),Tesfaye Taye (chant/vocals), Melaku Belay (dance), Misale Legesse (kebero), Zinash Tsegaye (dance)
FENDIKA AZMARI BET
In Ethiopian culture, an "azmari bet", litterally meaning the House of the Azmari, is a place where people come to listen and enjoy the traditional music. The Azmari are famous for their sense of humour and the perceptiveness of the songs they improvise about their customers, or about social and political subjects.
Since 2008, Melaku Belay has started to lead Fendika with a new pulse and spirit. He completely revolutionizes the artistic world of Addis Abeba by creating a place which offers a symbiosis between tradition and modernity.
Thus, during the special events regularly occured in Fendika since 2008, the traditional azmari music has constantly been shifted, reinvented and certainly enriched by Jazz and Rock bands coming from Europe, and United States as well (Imperial Tiger Orchestra, The Ex band, le Tigre des Platanes, Debo Band, Ukandanz, Chili Con Carne....ect.)
Fendika band has been also sucessfully touring in Europe and in USA during this past two years.
"AHUN". Performing Mercato
Geographical and historical factors allowed Ethiopia to have contacts and ties with various regions: Africa, Asia, and Europe since ancient times.
The making of Mercato, the marketplace of the ‘indigenous’ (“Mercato Indigino”) and the creation of Piazza as an exclusive Italian reserve was a consequence of Italian occupation of the country (1936-1941).
Since then, Mercato has been an essential hub where the meshing of various cultures comes to pass and social and economic exchanges occur. It is the biggest open-air marketplace in Africa.
Melaku Belay, an acclaimed traditional dancer, dance teacher and artistic director of Fendika Azmari Bet & Ethiocolor Traditional Group took the soundscape from one corner of Mercato called Min-Alesh Tera, (lit. What is there that you can’t find? Meaning you can find anything you ask for)
Melaku believes that examining the roots of Ethiopian traditional music is largely inspired by distant or recent past imitations of sounds and movements of nature, animals as well as human interactions and activities.
In this experimental performance, Melaku aspires to extract diverse Ethiopian rhythms that comes out of the natural working process of acutely creative and skillful youngsters who transform thousands of waste barrels into vital equipments with only few hand tools.
The idiom “Ahun” (“Now”) is given to signify the inspiration moment for the performance and with a view to capturing Mercato’s old architectural landscape and its ensuing soundscape which is at the verge of extinction with the fast transformation of this huge open-air
market space giving way to modern shopping malls.