Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Debo Band

  • Debo Band [Next Ambiance, 2012] ***
  • Ere Gobez [FPE, 2016] B+

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Debo Band [Next Ambiance, 2012]
The conceptual growing pains of a good idea for a band, English lyrics included ("Habesha," "Ambessel") ***

Ere Gobez [FPE, 2016]
Wary of bohemian musos gone ethnic and hostile to horn tuttis, I find this Boston-based pan-Ethiopian aggregation somewhat forced and obstreperous. Sonically, both adjectives are literal--cue up your favorite Éthiopiques comp and you'll be surprised how gentle the old stuff sounds by comparison. But from Ellington copyright to Okinawan golden oldie, other descriptives also pertain--open, surprising, catchy. And though you may have reservations about one track or another, not one is thrown away. As for bohemian musos, note that three musicians had to record their parts in Addis Ababa--cameo guests surnamed Hassen and Tesfaye, which makes sense, and a five-string violinist named Kaethe Hostetter. A dabbler I bet she ain't. B+