Originally published on Thu October 11, 2012 12:18 pm
The 11-member group from Boston known as Debo Band has a sound influenced by the traditional music played in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in the late '60s and early '70s. This style, labeled "Addis swing," came about amid the cultural freedom of that period, before a military coup put an end to the era. Ethiopian-American saxophonist Danny Mekonnen, who was born in Sudan and grew up in Texas, founded Debo Band, which released a self-titled album in July.
Boston's Debo Band takes inspiration from a golden era of popular music in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in the late '60s and early '70s. During a brief period of cultural freedom in Ethiopia, funk and soul music fused spectacularly with local traditions. Debo Band's debut album both honors and updates the sound of "swinging Addis."