Spotlight on Danny Mekonnen: Founder of Debo Band (Video)

Tadias TV
Interview by Kidane Mariam

Updated: Tuesday, September 22, 2009

New York (Tadias) – 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 Ababa’s 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 60′s and 70′s 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 band’s concert at L’Orange Bleue in New York City.

9 Responses to “Spotlight on Danny Mekonnen: Founder of Debo Band (Video)”


  1. 1 ABE Sep 22nd, 2009 at 2:25 pm

    Great Job. I hope you will stop by my town in the future. Wish to see you live soon. And good luck to you and your band.

  2. 2 Yonas nyc Sep 22nd, 2009 at 5:53 pm

    Good job Danny. The accordion player…priceless! Do you guys have a cd?

  3. 3 belew girma Sep 23rd, 2009 at 6:16 am

    I hope you will stop by my town houston.please let me know if you have CD
    fantastic job. thanks

  4. 4 AShenafi (The blue note band) Manchester,Uk Sep 23rd, 2009 at 12:38 pm

    Danny, it’s nice to see you. You are doing a great job.

  5. 5 peter Sep 23rd, 2009 at 10:51 pm

    I can’t wait to see this band in Dallas Tx.

  6. 6 danny Sep 24th, 2009 at 1:34 pm

    hi everyone! thanks for the support! we don’t have a CD yet but are working on it…will let tadias.com know when it’s ready.

    p.s. ashenafi, how are you brother? it’s good to hear from you!

  7. 7 Getachew Demeke Sep 29th, 2009 at 4:28 pm

    Dear Danny,
    Great job Danny! I am glad to see young Ethiopian men like you who grew up in diaspora going back to the roots! To Mamma Ethiopia!
    Keep up the great work!
    Getachew
    San Diego, CA

  8. 8 Mary W Clark Oct 1st, 2009 at 8:08 pm

    Dear Danny,

    We are all so proud of you here in Paris, Texas. Your band must come to Texas to perform. We look forward to it.

    All the best –

    Mary

  9. 9 Abera Oct 21st, 2009 at 12:13 pm

    Hi! Danny we are proud of your. hulum neger yichalal!!!

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