– save a piece of Ethiopian heritage.
We are trying to save the FENDIKA CLUB, the only cultural institution in Addis Ababa where the Azmaris (singers, musicians and poets) can perform and get paid regularly. In Ethiopia, there is no regular funding for culture – therefore artists have to rely on personal and private initiatives. Melaku Belay took over FENDIKA in 2008 and since then has become an institution in Addis and Ethiopia, while also rising to world wide international notoriety.
Now FENDIKA is in jeopardy because investors want to buy the land where the FENDIKA stands on. The club would be demolished – and Melaku’s and his Azmari’s lifes and existences would be over.
We don’t want this to happen.
To all my beautiful and loyal friends, near and far – our campaign has finished and there is just one thing to say – THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!!! We reached $22,300 from 157 donors, some of you twice! I treasure every one of you for helping me, and for me it is not about money but about love – You love Fendika, and I love you all!!! I especially want to mention the commitment and support of the amazing filmmaker Dirk Van den Berg (Jamming Addis) who has set up and managed the campaign. Special gratitude also to the musicians and organizers of the benefit concert on 9/28, and to all my family.
So far my efforts to buy Fendika have raised about 2/3 of what is needed. The good news is that the owner has agreed to give me 2 more months for the final payment of 1 Million birr. I am hopeful!! We are keeping a bank account set up just for the Fendika purchase, it is Name: Melaku Belay, Bank: Commercial Bank, Addis Ababa, Swift Code: CBETETAA , Account No.: 330S01000935.
It’s wonderful to read all your comments of how Fendika has been a part of your life, what you have experienced there, how much you enjoy our musical exchange there – I love this! Please keep in touch with me to offer your stories and suggestions as we build and grow (but Fendika will always be the same). And COME ALONG this Friday for Ethiocolor’s celebration of our new CD!!!
You have walked on this path with me, so I have never felt alone. We are friends forever – even if far away, you are with me, and Fendika will always be your music home. My heart is full. Blessings to you all.
Yours always, Melaku
Watch the clip here (our website) or here (Vimeo). This is an extract from our documentary where Melaku explains what the Azmaris are and why they are so important for Ethiopia. And he tells his story (in the second half of the clip).