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Spotlight on Danny Mekonnen - Founder of Debo Band

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Uploaded on Sep 21, 2009

Ethiopian-American jazz saxophonist Danny Mekonnen, a PhD candidate in Ethnomusicology at Harvard University, founded Debo band in 2006. The band, which has been cultivating a small but enthusiastic following in the loft spaces, neighborhood bars, and church basements of Boston, explores the unique sounds that filled the dance floors of Swinging Addis a period of prolific Ethiopian jazz recordings in the 1960s and 70s. Addis Ababas nightlife was buzzing with live Afro-pop, Swing, and Blues performances rivaling those in Paris or New York. The sounds of that era have been showcased on the Ethiopiques Buda CD series. The 60s and 70s also witnessed the rise of legendary stars such as Tilahun Gessesse, Mahmoud Ahmed, Alemayehu Eshete, Mulatu Astatke, and saxophonist Getatchew Mekuria, among others some of whom Danny credits as his source of inspiration. He pays tribute to Menelik Wossenachew, a member of the Haile Sellasie Theatre Orchestra, led by the famous Armenian composer Nerses Nalbandian. Debo began making appearances outside of Boston this year, including shows in New York, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. We spoke with Danny prior to the bands concert at LOrange Bleue in New York City.

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