Blog Posting

Music NEEDS a Home! Ethiocolor & the famed Azmaris at Fendika Music Club!

by Naomi House

Music NEEDS a Home!
From acclaimed Jazz Musicians, to the dancers & music of Ethiocolor, to the famed Azmaris, storytellers of Ethiopia – all find home IS the Fendika Music Club!

EthiocolorGroupMelakuImageHelp us give Ethiopian musicians a place to ply their trade and keep this cultural icon open!


Fendika is a club like no other. Ethiopian jazz coexists alongside traditional rhythms and the latest sounds, all punctuated by the sharp, uninhibited performances of the Ethiopian Azmaris. World renowned Fendika Music Club attracts the best local musicians as well as many other famous musicians from across the globe. According to one often-repeated legend, bassist Flea and guitarist Josh Klinghoffer of the Red Hot Chili Peppers were inspired to write their song “Ethiopia” in part by a visit to the club during their trip to Ethiopia in 2012. The club is also a destination for historians and scholars interested in the music, tradition, and stories of Ethiopia. melakuDancin@FendikaMariodiBariImage

But Fendika encompasses so much more of Ethiopian culture than just the music, because Melaku Belay, the current manager and owner, recognized the role traditional Ethiopian dance and storytelling, part of the Azmari tradition, played as well. He created a home and believed strongly in paying the artists who give their all. They need our support financially to ensure this great heritage and location is not lost for all time. is partnering with Fendika Music Club to help fundraise for these efforts!
When Ethiopian dancer Melaku Belay took over the legendary Fendika Music Club in Addis Ababa, it was with a dream that was revolutionary in Ethiopian culture–to provide Ethiopian musicians with a source of fair and reliable pay for their work. Previously these performers were forced to survive only on tips, but now they can develop their music as professionals and inspire a new generation of performers, a very important step for Ethiopian music. Melaku Belay is an innovative Ethiopian dancer and ‘a cultural entrepreneur’ trying to support and spread the cultural and musical wealth of his country.


T160k is a Washington State Social Purpose Corporation that’s dedicated to using technology to help create communities around exciting cultural work in Africa and to contribute resources to this work. The organization allows people to learn about projects through the web site and to contribute funds to them. Supporters receive perks in return for their support, ranging from the satisfaction of a simple “thank you” to the opportunity to meet the people and take part in the work on the ground in Africa.


If you’d like more information about T160K, Fendika Music Club or any of our other projects/campaigns, or to schedule an interview with Stephanie, Tony or Naomi please email or send us a Tweet @T160K.




Stephanie Diakité, EVP:

For many years, Stephanie Diakité, T160K founder and Vice President for Everything, has been working as a transformational development specialist in more than 40 sub-Saharan African countries. She concentrates on building capacity in key areas of human rights based socio-economic development where culture and gender play decisive roles. You can find out more about her work and share your ideas and contributions on her websites at and


To support the safeguarding of the scholarship contained in the ancient manuscripts of Timbuktu subsequent to the political and social upheaval that rocked Mali between 2012 and 2013, Stephanie began T160K – the Timbuktu Libraries in Exile Knowledge Initiative in collaboration with her friend and colleague Abdel Kader Haidara of SAVAMA DCI.


She and Abdel Kader evacuated more than 400,000 manuscripts from Timbuktu and T160K successfully implemented a crowd sourcing activity to raise funds for urgent conservation work in the corpus of evacuated manuscripts. These experiences motivated Stephanie to increase the scope of T160K to enable people world-wide to support a large variety cultural patrimony and heritage initiatives and the principles of human rights based culture and sustainable development.


Stephanie may be reached at for interview requests or further info.



Tony Dowler, CEO:

A Seattle-based consultant, writer, and artist, Tony Dowler became involved in crowdfunding as a way to support his own creative projects and those of others. In 2013, he organized T160k’s successful crowdfunding campaign to help fund the preservation of the Timbuktu manuscripts.


Before joining T160k, Tony worked for 15 years as a technical marketing consultant and writer. In his spare time, Tony enjoys drawing, painting, board games, and playing the banjo. You can follow him on Twitter at @t160kTony.


Tony may be reached at for interview requests or further info.


Naomi House, CMO:

Naomi comes to T160k after a decade in libraries and information centers and after founding the popular LIS (library and information science) jobs site, INALJ grew from 6 subscribers to 9 million page views in a few short years through grassroots marketing campaigns and community building, things that drew her to T160k and its community. She is excited to be able to share projects she is passionate about and looks forward to building this community and sharing the incredible projects of our partners. Find her @T160k and @T160kNaomi.
In addition to her work community building Naomi is a frequent presenter and keynote speaker. She has spoken at the National Press Club and Library of Congress, both in Washington, D.C., the American University in the Emirates, Dubai, UAE, in Alaska and Hawaii and presented over 40 other places as well. In fact, Naomi and T160k founder Stephanie Diakité, met in February of 2014 in Cape Town, South Africa when they served on the same breakout panel at a library conference (Stephanie was also the keynote speaker). That chance meeting and a long bus ride back from dinner sparked a conversation and Naomi’s involvement in T160K. Kismet!
Naomi is active in many professional associations including, Ellevate Network, ALA (American Library Association), SLA (Special Libraries Association), Women in Technology, and Beta Phi Mu.


Naomi may be reached at for interview requests or further info.


Melaku Belay, Owner and Manager, Fendika Music Club:

Melaku began his career as a street kid and refugee whom the owners of Fendika allowed to sleep behind the stage at the Fendika Club. He taught himself to dance by watching performers at the club and worked for many years before he eventually became the owner. Melaku is an energizing force in the Ethiopian music scene and beyond. Today, artists from all over the world come to Fendika to play and talk, exchange ideas, and teach young musicians. Melaku and his club have an influence on world music that reaches far beyond the walls of Fendika. This amazing clip from Jamming Addis, Dirk van den Berg’s amazing documentary tells the story of Melaku and the club better than any words.
Photos and video that may be used with permission:


Attribution for all photos: Fendika Music Club & Mario Di Bari

One thought on “Music NEEDS a Home! Ethiocolor & the famed Azmaris at Fendika Music Club!

  1. Pingback: Ethio-jazz lovers coast to coast are turning change into change |

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