Introducing Freedom Square!
A coalition of local community groups launched Freedom Square–just up the block from the Sanctuary–with a free outdoor live music event on Saturday, July 2nd. Headlined by a 10-piece Boston-based Ethiopian-influenced jazz and soul group, the Debo Band, the lineup also included rock, hip hop and gospel performances by local groups including Sumac, S.K.A.T.E., and the Missing Link Street Ministry Men's Choir.
Freedom Square is an urban cultural and spiritual oasis located at the mystical corner where 5th and 6th Avenues meet 101st Street a block from the Hudson River in North Troy, NY. Map it!
We celebrated with an afternoon of great music as well as a free bike clinic, community barbecue, info tables, and more, to launch Freedom Square!
The Debo Band is not your mother's Ethiopian dance band. Expect searing horns, crooning vocals, and slinky funk grooves. Dubbed out violin and accordion. Bass-heavy, brazen, and dense. Led by Ethiopian-American saxophonist Danny Mekonnen and fronted by charismatic vocalist Bruck Tesfaye, Debo's performances bring together the best of the last forty years of Ethiopian music, with a reverence for the vintage sounds of the 1970s and a commitment to discovering contemporary gems, as well as developing new compositions. They stopped in Troy on their way back to Boston from a performance at the Montreal Jazz Festival. Don't worry–if you missed this show, you can catch them in August at Lincoln Center in NYC. In the meantime, check out the Debo Band website for music samples and more information!
Also on the lineup, homegrown talent from Troy's own Missing Link Mens Chorus (gospel), S.K.A.T.E. (hip hop) and Sumac (country rock). There's something for everyone in Freedom Square!
Freedom Square is a community collaboration between The Sanctuary for Independent Media, the Missing Link Street Ministry, Troy Bike Rescue, and Collard City Growers. This concert was also sponsored by the Uptown Initiative and One Day Signs.