Debo Band – Ere Gobez (FPE Records, 2016)

Ere Gobez is the title of the new album by Debo Band, a large multi-ethnic American world music band that brings together an irresistible mix of danceable Ethiopian roots music, rock, Ethiojazz, and jam band sections featuring masterful solos. On this occasion, Debo Band goes beyond Ethiopian influences, featuring their vision of popular songs from Somalia and Okinawa.

In Ethiopia, in the early 70s, you had a lot of different styles and artists and arrangers. You had such wealth,” says Ethiopian-American band leader and saxophone player Danny Mekonnen. “You can never stop digging; there will always be new material to introduce people to. That’s something significant. We’re digging much, much deeper. We’re still unearthing new sounds after a decade.

Although the core members of Debo Band are based in the United States, the band’s violinist, Kaethe Hostetter, lives in Addis Ababa and recorded her tracks there, together with guests Endris Hassen, who plays the mesenqo (one-stringed bowed fiddle), and singer Nardos Tesfaw, who appears on one song.

The lineup on Ere Gobez includes Bruck Tesfaye vocals, Danny Mekonnen on saxophones, Gabriel Birnbaum on tenor saxophone, Danilo Henriquez on trumpet and percussion, Jonah Rapino on electric violin, Kaethe Hostetter on 5-string violin, Marié Abe on accordion, Stephanie Baird on trombone, Brendon Wood on guitar,
Arik Grier on sousaphone, PJ Goodwin bass, and Adam Clark drums. Guests: Endris Hassen on mesenqo and Nardos Tesfaw on vocals.

On Ere Gobez, Debo skillfully intertwines different strains of Ethiopian musical tradition delivering a ferociously powerful album.

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