Since 2006, Debo Band has thrilled Boston-area audiences with their unique interpretations of classic Ethiopian popular music. In 2009, Debo traveled to Addis Ababa to perform at the Ethiopian Music Festival. This African journey found Debo Band collaborating with several traditional musicians – vocalist Selamnesh Zemene, drummer Asrat Ayalew, and dancers Zinash Tsegaye and Melaku Belay. These musicians work together at Fendika, a leading azmari bet, or traditional music house in Addis Ababa. When working with these four musicians Debo Band grows into a forceful, energetic, and authoritative 14-piece ensemble capable of delightful, one-of-a-kind performances.
Fendika is a four-member traditional azmari ensemble founded in 2008 by Melaku Belay, Ethiopia’s top dancer and highly respected cultural ambassador. Azmari music is the name for a folk music traditionally performed by the azmari, or wandering musicians from the countryside, who sing, play, and dance for money and praise. Under Melaku’s direction, Fendika revolutionized the artistic world of Addis Ababa by creating music that presents a symbiosis between tradition and modernity.