Debo Band is an 11-member collective led by Ethiopian- American saxophonist Danny Mekonnen and fronted by charismatic vocalist Bruck Tesfaye. Since its inception in 2006, the band has won rave reviews for its groundbreaking take on Ethiopian pop music (think Ethiopiques), which incorporates traditional scales and vocal styles alongside American soul and funk rhythms and instrumentation reminiscent of Eastern European brass bands. Debo have toured Ethiopia twice, appearing at both the Ethiopian Music Festival in Addis Ababa and Sauti Za Busara in Zanzibar, the largest music festival in East Africa. In North America they’ve shared stages with Gogol Bordello, Amadou & Mariam, Grupo Fantasma, The Family Stone, and Ethiopian great Tilahun Gessesse.
Recent and upcoming performances include the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival, Bumbershoot, Lincoln Center Out-of- Doors, The Kennedy Center, Montreal Jazz Festival, New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, South by Southwest, globalFEST 2012 at Webster Hall, Joe’s Pub, and World Music Festival: Chicago.Their self-titled debut for Sub Pop / Next Ambiance was produced by Thomas “Tommy T” Gobena of Gogol Bordello and features album art by critically- renowned painter Julie Mehretu.
In the winter of 2015, the band returned to the studio with a new set of songs, further exploring their signature take on Ethiopian pop and imaginatively connecting the dots between Addis Ababa and the U.S. The band is playing scattered shows throughout the remainder of 2015, and gearing up for the new album which will be released in 2016.