Debo Band Brings Ethiopian Pop-Funk to Bard

Debo Band (photo Pete Lee)

Debo Band (photo Pete Lee)

(ANNANDALE-on-HUDSON, N.Y.) – The Boston-based Debo Band, which specializes in a blend of 1960s-era Ethiopian pop music, soul, funk, and Eastern European brass band sounds, performs in the Fisher Center at Bard College on Thursday, November 19, 2015, at 8pm. There will be a preconcert talk at 7pm.

Tickets are $15 and can be ordered online at Fisher Center at Bard College or by calling the box office at 845-758-7900.
Since its inception in 2006, Debo has won raves for its groundbreaking take on the golden age of Ethiopian music, incorporating traditional scales and vocal styles alongside American soul and funk rhythms, with instrumentation reminiscent of Eastern European brass bands.

The New York Times describes it as “fierce, jagged, complex and galvanizing music. With a beefy horn section, biting violins and a lead singer with a convincing Ethiopian quaver, the group brought back a live version of a style that was never recorded as vividly.”
“This is one of the best finds of the year, bar none. The Boston-based Debo Band takes traditional Ethiopian sounds and scales to a new place . . . a party where funk, soul and free jazz swirl together. . . . You’ve got to catch Debo Band live — that’s where the groove and sweat really kick in.” —NPR Music’s 50 Favorite Albums of 2012


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.



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