Debo Band (MA/Ethiopia)
Boston-based Debo Band takes traditional and popular Ethiopian sounds to a astonishing new place – a party place where funk, soul and free jazz swirl together with the heady, sultry melodies and harmonies of Addis Ababa. This 11-member group, led by Ethiopian-American saxophonist Danny Mekonnen and fronted by charismatic vocalist Bruck Tesfaye, features instrumentation reminiscent of Eastern European bass bands: trumpet, sax, sousaphone, accordion, violin plus electric guitar and percussion. NPR calls the band’s album “one of the best finds of 2012, bar none,” but their live performances are truly when the groove and sweat kick in. Debo plays fierce, jagged, complex and galvanizing music, delighting fans across the world with their mix of classic funk, Arabic-sounding scales, and trance-like African grooves.