Review and photographs by Rudy Lu
Additional photograph by Jon Flanders
Freedom Square in Troy was filled with the joyous, high energy sounds of Debo Band once again earlier this month. The band made their Freedom Square debut back in 2011, christening the new community gathering space in fine fashion. Back then there was no colorful mosaic wall that now serves as a backdrop for the stage.
The band was making the Troy tour stop between shows at the Montreal Jazz Festival and the Green River Festival, and this time around the brightly colored backdrop of the now finished Freedom Square Stage certainly added to the excitement of Debo’s performance. The band played exotic and infectious Ethiopian dance-pop music, featuring highly complex rhythms and jazz-like instrumental solos shaded with elements of funk and rock.
The band was led by saxophonist Danny Mekonnen and fronted by energetic vocalist Bruck Tesfaye. What really makes Debo Band stand out, however, is their unique instrumental line-up, which also features guitar, electric bass, drums, Sousaphone, accordion, electric violin and a full horn section.
Of course, the stage couldn’t contain the non-stop kinetic energy of the band, and the musicians often wandered off the stage to entertain the many children in the audience.
The band’s two exergetic sets left the small crowd excited and happy. Thanks to the folks at the Sanctuary for Independent Media for bringing another fine free show to Nippertown!