I wrote a new piece for okayafrica about Melaku Belay and Fendika. Help these musicians buy the land that the Azmari Bet they made famous is built upon today! (time is of the essence here) indiegogo.com/projects/save-the-fendika-cultural-club-in-addis-ababa
"In Addis Ababa today, cranes litter the sky like an alien invasion. With bare feet, workers balance on ancient scaffolding wrapped around modern highrises. The air is a certain spice mixed with the kind of smog that could give anyone asthma in a week. The city is overpopulated and growing fast. I see pictures of where I stayed last time I was in the country and barely recognize a thing. Needless to say, the price of real estate is climbing high… save Fendika.
Melaku Belay dances like lightning; or like traditional acoustic instruments are electrocuting his entire body. He was orphaned as a youth and slept in the streets for 6 months, dancing for tips. The previous owner of Fendika allowed Melaku to sleep in the club while he continued to dance for tips and grow with his craft, until 12 years later he had saved up enough tips to buy the club. Since that day in 2008, Fendika has been an Azmari bet (traditional music house) unlike any other."
Read the rest over at okayafrica: http://bit.ly/SaveFendika
...and if you missed it last week, I made a 10-song playlist for Ethiopian New Years on okayafrica, that you can also check here: http://bit.ly/EthiopianNewYear