Song You Need: dragonchild translates Debo Band’s sound into digital mayhem
“The Source” is the lead single from DA Mekonnen’s self-titled debut LP under the new moniker.
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It’s been nearly seven years since Debo Band — the Boston-based, 11-piece Ethiopian music ensemble led by saxophonist DA Mekonnen — released their sophomore LP, Ere Gobez. In the interim, Mekonnen has taken time to reconnect with his roots, focusing on a unique type of spiritual nourishment he calls “ancestral practice” — which makes the fact that the his new solo project, dragonchild, is largely electronic all the more surprising. Today (February 16), he’s announcing dragonchild’s self-titled debut album and premiering its lead single, “The Source,” with The FADER.
The new track, which features Philly-based percussionist and producer Sunken Cages, is a chaotic, collagic endeavor, fusing innovative sampling techniques with a jittery modular synth, an elastic drum line (courtesy of Cages), and Mekonnen’s transcendent sax stylings, which soar above the mix like an ancient, winged deity.
“[‘The Source’] is about our Power coming from the Ancestors — both living and transitioned,” Mekonnen tells The FADER. “The track includes a sample of Hailu Mergia’s debut solo cassette played in reverse on a US Library of Congress Tape Deck. We were influenced by South African gqom music (at least in regards to the sonic reference) and went for a banger EDM dance floor vibe.”
dragonchild is due out April 21 on FPE Records as a full digital album and a quadruple LP alternately titled BLACK, containing an eight-channel mix of the record’s closer, “Meditation (Ancestor),” that requires four turntables spinning simultaneously to be appreciated in its full form.
Listen to “The Source” and check out dragonchild’s cover art and tracklist below. The album is available for preorder via FPE Records’ website.
dragonchild album art
1. Unicode 1200
2. The Source
5. Meditation (Reprise)
6. Hopefulness (Ecogrief FM Radio Edit)
8. Above All
10. Meditation (Ancestor)