Sounds of Africa: Debo Band

While there are many sounds from South Sudan that have slipped away from my memory bank, one thing that remains is the sound of Ethiopian beats blaring through the night. Whenever I was in the city of Juba, I stayed in a small house that was near a popular Ethiopian restaurant. On any weekend evening, we could hear every note of the music vibrating through the house even though we were a good block away. At first the music was fun, something I could bop your head and dance along with while making dinner or chatting with friends. But as I crawled into bed and attempted to sleep, and the good-times beat kept blaring through the night - 1am, 2am, 3am - the only thing I felt like "bopping" were the speakers that stretched the distance between me and sweet somber.

Since then, I can honestly say there was no bopping to anything Ethiopian until I came across Debo Band who replaces those mixed memories with fresh happy new ones! Founded by Ethiopian-American saxophonist Danny Mekonnen, Debo Band transports you into the hip, swinging world of 1970s Addis while still infusing contemporary American soul and funk beats. Click here and here to hear more of what I'm talking about and be sure to check out their site to find out when their current tour will bring them to a location near you!

{Photo: Bushwick BK}

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