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Redfern presents Debo Band Nov. 6

Debo Band
Debo Band

Debo Band, one of the hottest bands to come out of Boston in recent years, will play Ethiopian pop music on Wednesday, November 6, at 7:30 p.m. in the Alumni Recital Hall of the Redfern Arts Center at Keene State College. Audience members will be encouraged to dance in front of the stage to the high-energy beat of this 11-piece band that plays saxophone, accordion, sousaphone, trumpet, and stringed instruments.

Rolling Stone says Debo Band’s “guitar solos, massed vocals, violin, and brass rush in like a Red Bulled marching band. Dance at your own risk.”

Tickets are $20 for the general public; $15 for senior citizens, youth, and KSC alumni, and $5 for KSC students. For tickets, call the Box Office at 603-358-2168 or order online at

Two free community programs are scheduled the day of Debo Band’s performance in conjunction with Keene State’s 2013 Biennial Symposium. An “Introduction to Ethiopian Music” open workshop will take place at noon, Wednesday, November 6, in the Alumni Recital Hall. During the workshop band members will discuss Ethiopian history and introduce Ethiopian musical styles, including vocal, folk, modern, jazz, brass band, and pop. A post-show meet and greet and reception with the artists will take place after the performance in the lobby.

Irresistible, jagged, intoxicating, galvanizing… Debo Band plays Ethiopian pop music “like it’s NOW” (NPR), blending the traditional melodies and harmonies from Addis Ababa and the spirit of the “Golden Age” of Ethiopian music from the late 1960s and early ‘70s with the energy of funk, soul, free jazz, noise rock, and Eastern European gypsy music. Directed by Ethiopian-American saxophonist Danny Mekonnem, the large band is an amalgamation of players from all over the world, from Angers, France to Paris, Texas to the Sudan. As a result of their diversity, Debo Band’s songs weave a great deal of historical context, drama and strife through interplay of saxophone, guitar, vocals, violin, trumpet, accordion and percussion.

The group, signed to Sub Pop subsidiary Next Ambiance, recently released a CD that made NPR Music’s 50 Favorite Albums of 2012. The band has played at the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival, South by Southwest, Bumbershoot, Lincoln Center Out-of-Doors, The Kennedy Center, Montreal Jazz Festival, New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, and this summer at the World Music Festival: Chicago.

The Debo Band performance is a collaboration with the Keene State College Music Department and is presented in conjunction with the 2013 KSC Biennial Symposium activities. It is funded in part by the New England States Touring program of the New England Foundation for the Arts, made possible with funding from the National Endowment for the Arts Regional Touring Program and the six New England state arts agencies.

About Redfern Arts Center at Keene State College

The Arts Center is named in honor of Dr. Leo F. Redfern, Keene State College President from 1969 to 1979 for his vision, commitment, and eloquence on behalf of the arts that made funding and construction of the facility a reality. In 1981, KSC inaugurated this new performing arts center, with the goal of providing unforgettable artistic encounters for the campus and community. Since then, the Redfern stage has hosted hundreds of amazing shows, from internationally renowned artists to emerging young talents to KSC’s own student performers. Over the years, the Redfern has expanded its outreach programs, curricular and community partnerships, becoming an indispensable resource for the Keene community and beyond.

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