Melaku Belay and Jeroen started to actively work together in 2013 when we did our first production called Meeting. Taking place in Addis Ababa Ethiopia in collaboration with Norwegian choreographer Magnhild Fossum and masinqo virtuoso Endris Hassen, it was a first attempt to do an interdisciplinary performance. Musicians moved and dancers participated in the music, and we setup a sound system around the audience to incorporate them more into the performance. Some special foot switches were installed to trigger and layer sine tones in Ethiopian musical scales. It was big fun, well attended, we even had Getatchew Mekurya firing up the audience, so we decided to proceed with the idea. The next year the project was proceeded under the name Fano. We spent more time on rehearsals, tried to get more form in the performance, but alas had to exchange the masinqo player due to unavailability. However young replacement Dawit Lensa did a splendid job.
In 2016 Melaku and Jeroen picked up on the previous explorations, this time in Zürich. Under the name CLASHES & CROSSFADES - metropolic moments, they took up the theme of the fast accelerating infrastructural development of the City of Addis Ababa, an African Metropole which is catapulted in the 21st century with great impact. Comparing this with the impact of technological development on social life in Europe is the basis for the performance. It was test-performed two times in Zürich in 2016.
To turn the project into a true multidisciplinary performance, they searched collaboration with Swiss filmmaker Michelle Ettlin. Melaku combines elements of traditional dance with observations of and interventions to everyday street life. Jeroen's music shifts between the strong physicality of the saxophone and the ethereal qualities of electronic music. Both are working on crossfades between the future and the past. Traditional and contemporary dance. Traditional acoustic instruments and new digital technologies. Michelle Ettlin, filmmaker and photographer, paints these qualities on a virtual canvas, investigating the role of new technologies in our relationship with time (simultaneousness of past, present and future) and space (virtual and physical) and questioning its use in the preservation of traditions.
In using Live Video-Streaming the audience position is thematized and creates a friction between reality and virtuality. It was first showed in Fendika Cultural Center in Addis Ababa on January 1st 2018. That performance was preceded by an intro by the Mercato metal workers bashing apart oil drums, and Melaku and Jeroen improvising dance and sax on that. The video can be found just below.
The next performance will be at the VideoEx Festival in May 2018 in Zürich, with more performances planned for the future.