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Danny Mekonnen

Boston, MA      

Growing up in Texas as a first generation Ethiopian-American, Danny Mekonnen often heard the sounds of traditional Ethiopian instruments and vocals. By the time he was an accomplished saxophonist, Danny sought out master Ethiopian musicians to learn to play the traditional instruments of his heritage.

Mekonnen is the Founder and Director of the Debo Band, whose self-titled debut was included on NPR’s 50 Favorite Albums of 2012. The group’s groundbreaking take on Ethiopian music has lead to performances at the Montreal Jazz Festival, New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, Lincoln Center, The Kennedy Center, South by Southwest, Sauti za Busara (Zanzibar), and the Ethiopian Music(s) Festival (Addis Ababa). He has a M.A. in ethnomusicology from Harvard University where he researched Ethiopian popular music of the 1960s-1970s. In 2007, he taught a UNESCO course in musical ethnography at the Institute of Ethiopian Studies, Addis Ababa University. He also served as the director of the Nile Project, an ensemble comprised of musicians from the eleven countries of the Nile Basin, including Ethiopia, Sudan, and Egypt, each a major stakeholder in the region’s political, environmental, and cultural stability. 

And Lay

Original Ethiopian jazz in the style of 1970s funk group called Walias Band, one of the most important bands from Ethiopia.

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Mode for The City

A composition for saxophone and drums in the Ambassel style from Ethiopia.

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Meditation (excerpt)

Excerpt from a twenty-minute piece for saxophone and bells.

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