Forro in the Dark with Debo Band

Forro in the Dark, as their name implies, is a band made of Brazilian ex-pats who play fun, upbeat, forro music in both English and their native Portuguese. Forro is described by the band as “hip-swiveling, dancefloor-filling, rural party music of Brazil’s northeastern states.” Mauro Refosco (zabumba drum and vocals), Guilherme Monteiro (guitar and vocals) and Jorge Continentino (pifano flute, sax and vocals) use their intrinsic talent and creativity to bring the genre of forro into the present while respecting and paying homage to its roots. As said by record label Nublu: “Give them half an ear, and your hips will take over and start rolling to their Brazilian roots rock. They’re a little afro-beat, a little country western swing, a little dub, and all rock and roll, fueled by the insistent rhythm of forro.” Debo Band is a group that has cultivated the musical marriage of Ethiopian pop with American and Ethiopian funk and soul. While their take on the hybrid pop-funk genre is attention grabbing, critics have also said that it flows very organically and is “effortlessly joyful.”

Debo Band features eleven members in their impressive roster: Bruck Tesfaye (vocals), Danny Mekonnen (saxophones), Gabriel Birnbaum (tenor saxophone), Danilo Henriquez (trumpet and percussion), Jonah Rapino (electric violin), Kaethe Hostetter (5-string violin), Marié Abe (accordion), Brendon Wood (guitar), Arik Grier (sousaphone), PJ Goodwin (bass), and Adam Clark (drums).The New York Times said of their style, “…, a Boston group devoted to the Ethiopian funk of the late 1960s and ’70s: fierce, jagged, complex and galvanizing music. With a beefy horn section, biting violins and a lead singer with a convincing Ethiopian quaver, the group brought back a live version of a style that was never recorded as vividly.”