Debo Band, the 11-piece group that’s been described as “Ethiopian Pop” has a new CD out on Sub-Pop. Their first full-length release, Debo Band is an exciting collection of the band’s output and a great display of their dynamics as a performing unit.
The band’s leader, saxophonist Danny Mekonnen, had a little time to talk about the group’s music.
CM: I enjoyed the album simply titled Debo Band. Can you please talk about the making of this recording? By the way this is the first full-length album, correct?
Danny: Yeah, it’s our first full-length. We recorded in a great studio called Machines With Magnets in Pawtucket, RI, just outside Providence. Our producer Thomas “Tommy T” Gobena was an integral part of the process and helped shape the recording into the big sound that is there from the first track.
CM: Who was/is responsible for the arrangements (I love “Not Just a Song”)?
Danny: Over the years, I’ve been the primary arranger, but this album also sees arrangements by Kaethe Hostetter (5-string violin), Jonah Rapino (electric violin), Adam Clark (drums), and group collaborations where everyone pitches in an idea or two.
Debo Band – “Lantchi Biye” Live: SXSW 2011 Showcasing Artist
CM: The sound of the band is amazing, especially the horns (you have the sax) and the violin!
With the appearance of groups like yours and Gogol Bordello, is there another sort of big band emergence going on now?
Danny: Thank you! Well, I’m not sure if it’s a emergence right now, but I think that big bands are definitely on the rise with artists from Bon Iver and Of Montreal to Gogol Bordello and Debo Band. It’s an exciting time for the music scene! We say the more the merrier!
Debo Band – “And Lay” (from the album)