Global Notes: Retrofitting traditional sounds for a modern fit

March 28, 2012

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(Photo courtesy of Debo Band)
The eleven-member Ethiopian-pop group Debo Band got their start in 2006 and has since toured globally.

On this week’s Global Notes, Jerome and contributor Catalina Maria Johnson take a look at bands that play “retrofitted” music. These groups adapt older music and apply contemporary technology to bring long-standing musical traditions into the 21st century. 

Songstress Sarah Aroeste brings a 500-year-old tradition to the present with spoken-word flavored, rock–tinged versions of tunes sung in the ancient Judeo-Spanish language.

Boston-based Debo Band pays homage to the golden age of Ethiopian music with its R&B-influenced, horn-heavy ensembles from the 1970s.

M.A.K.U. Sound System is an eight-member Colombian band based in Queens, N.Y. They reference classics from mid-20th century Colombia -- such as the big-band sounds of the Colombian Atlantic Coast like Lucho Bermudez Orchestra as well as the Afro-indigenous music of composer Andrés Landero.

Track List:

La Comida La Manana by Gerard Edery Ensemble

La Comida La Manana by Sarah Aroeste

Lantchi Biye by Tlahoun Gessesse

Lantchi Biye by Debo Band

Tambo Tambo by Andres Landero y su Conjunto

Colombia Tierra Querida by Lucho Bermudez

Canto Negro by M.A.K.U. Sound System