Azmari Bet - A cultural platform aimed to highlight established habesha artists in the community

Posted: Feb, 12th 2020 Contributor: Selam Mengistu,


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Photos from Azmari Bet's recent event

We know Ethiopia to be nothing but a culturally rich country spilling with history. It became integral to reflect this by engaging current local artists that are in their own right promoting their heritage. The concept was to recreate the experience of an Azmari Bet, a traditional club hidden away in the back streets of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia where musicians entertain and amuse. Azmari Bet cultural entertainment in London is a quarterly event that aims to highlight established habesha artists in the community and through doing so providing a platform for up and coming artists as a means to expand.By working closely with local independent artists, Azmari Bet became a medium in which to provide a platform and support up-and-coming artists to hone their craft.

By developing and designing a personal brand, content was produced to strategically target audiences as well as marketing these digitally on social media platforms Facebook and Instagram through sponsored advertisements and approaching well-known socialites to circulate the content utilising their promotional platforms and channels.

A cultural traditional Ethiopian & Eritrean evening was curated to be an inclusive event, intergenerational in its nature, catering to all demographics, in doing so bridging the gap between the diaspora and the first generation of Ethiopians as well as introducing unique aspects of the culture for prospective tourism.

Working with established Ethiopian artists as a mechanism to draw in both habesha and non-habeshas alike, by selectively approaching a variety of performances modern and traditional performers, we have featured Krar Collective, Lemn Sissay MBE, Betty Dankira,  Ethiopian grown azmari vocalists from Bolel collective, members Zewditu Yohannes and Yezina Negasha. The main aim of Azmari Bet was to create a safe space for East Africans to explore their culture, identity and discover different trajectories in doing so, providing a platform to empower and increase self-esteem and leadership skills for new-up-and coming: presenters, actors, singers, photographers to exhibit their art as well as capture the night. Connecting people and allowing an intergenerational dialogue is at the heart of this initiative allowing for networking opportunities as well as supporting local businesses in selling their goods such as traditional honey wine, teff grain products as well as local Ethiopian restaurants.

 There is a need for different arts and cultural performances within the Ethiopian diaspora community in London, there is scope to develop to build further inclusive spaces that supporting new up & coming talent within the Habesha community.

Video from Azmari Bet's recent events:

As a small-scale grassroots initiative, Azmari Bet has been fortunate to have gained support from Ethiopian literary giant Lemn Sissay MBE, choosing Azmari Bet to be the bet (home) to his official Ethiopian book launch in London in August 2019, bringing a mixed audience interested in literature & music. Azmari Bet has plans to expand, working to use home-grown talent we have planned for the upcoming year aspiring to bring artists from Ethiopia.

Video from Azmari Bet's recent events:

Past and upcoming events:

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