11 Songs

EDITORS’ NOTES

Debo Band is an 11-piece ensemble based in Boston but rooted in Ethiopian psychedelic jazz. Bandleader Danny Mekonnen is an Ethiopian-American saxophonist whose direction lets the band play the music with a natural contemporary feel, rather than a genre-worshipping throwback style. “Akale Wube” opens with a timeless groove; the rhythm section sounds like it could have been recorded in the late '60s or in 2012. Over this, the brass section plays like a troupe equally raised on world music and late-'70s ska albums from 2-Tone Records. Lead singer Bruck Tesfaye has both a commanding and charismatic presence. Check out “Ney Ney Weleba,” where his vocals follow the rhythmic cadence and also coast above it with serpentine-moving melodies. Still, it’s the layered cacophony at the song's end that's most arresting—especially when Mekonnen reels back the maelstrom into one kinetic movement. Even when the band breaks from its preferred style and takes on klezmer ("Habesha") or cabaret ("Ambassel"), it keeps a thick, pulsing root of handsome Ethiopian soul.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Debo Band is an 11-piece ensemble based in Boston but rooted in Ethiopian psychedelic jazz. Bandleader Danny Mekonnen is an Ethiopian-American saxophonist whose direction lets the band play the music with a natural contemporary feel, rather than a genre-worshipping throwback style. “Akale Wube” opens with a timeless groove; the rhythm section sounds like it could have been recorded in the late '60s or in 2012. Over this, the brass section plays like a troupe equally raised on world music and late-'70s ska albums from 2-Tone Records. Lead singer Bruck Tesfaye has both a commanding and charismatic presence. Check out “Ney Ney Weleba,” where his vocals follow the rhythmic cadence and also coast above it with serpentine-moving melodies. Still, it’s the layered cacophony at the song's end that's most arresting—especially when Mekonnen reels back the maelstrom into one kinetic movement. Even when the band breaks from its preferred style and takes on klezmer ("Habesha") or cabaret ("Ambassel"), it keeps a thick, pulsing root of handsome Ethiopian soul.

TITLE TIME
5:01
5:30
6:06
5:30
5:13
5:15
4:53
4:11
6:51
7:06
3:22

About Debo Band

Debo Band are a Boston-based ensemble who play music heavily inspired by Ethiopian pop music as well as American funk and Eastern European brass bands. Founded in 2006 by saxophonist Danny Mekonnen, the group is led by singer Bruck Tesfaye. Other members include guitarist Brendon Wood and electric violinist Jonah Rapino (both of Devil Music), accordion player Marié Abe (Japonize Elephants), violinist Käthe Hostetter (Qwanqwa), and sousaphonist Arik Grier (Fat Day). They have toured Ethiopia twice and performed at the Ethiopian Music Festival in Addis Ababa as well as Sauti Za Busara in Zanzibar. They have performed shows with Group Doueh, the Ex with Getatchew Mekurya, Khaira Arby, and many others. Their first recording, live EP Flamingoh (Pink Bird Dawn), was issued in 2010. They also released two 7" singles on Electric Cowbell, both of which featured remixes by Kiddid. In 2012, American indie rock label Sub Pop released Debo Band's self-titled debut full-length, which was produced by Addis Ababa-born Thomas Gobena, bassist for New York-based Gypsy punks Gogol Bordello. In 2016, the group's second album, Ere Gobez, was released by FPE Records. ~ Paul Simpson

  • ORIGIN
    Boston, MA
  • GENRE
    World
  • FORMED
    2006

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