Saxophones, Composer

Growing up in Texas as a first generation Ethiopian-American, Danny Mekonnen often heard traditional Ethiopian instruments and vocals. After becoming 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 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 also served as the director of the Nile Project, an ensemble comprised of musicians from the 11 countries of the Nile Basin that promotes regional cooperation and sustainability. He has an M.A. in ethnomusicology from Harvard University where he researched Ethiopian popular music of the 1960s-1970s.

Back to Artists