In 2000, eight students from the Paris, France area established a band to live their passion - Reggae music. They took their name from an Ethiopian desert: Danakil. Ten years later, the group fulfilled a longtime dream of theirs with their third studio album, Echos du Temps: two extensive journeys to Jamaica and Mali took them to the very roots of Reggae music. The album was recorded in Kingston‘s Tuff Gong Studio and Bamako‘s Humble Ark Studio, the studio of Malian Dub grand master Manjul. The result is another milestone in the professionalization of the French Reggae scene. Roots Reggae at its best with interesting influences from Mali, the cradle of music.
Catchy basslines and even more the formidable brass section constitute this album‘s sound that - with a single exception - can always be classified as Roots Reggae. World Music and Hip-Hop influences as well as elements from French Chansons are just spices that refine the savor. The harmonious female background choir adds another special touch. A novelty for Danakil that they should definitely retain.
Echos du Temps does not contain a single languid tune, let alone one that disappoints. Les Pages Se Tournent is among the most brilliantly shining gems of this album. It is a slightly melancholic tune with pensive lyrics from Balik, Danakil‘s lead singer. Questioning as we are used to it from Danakil are the lyrics of Free, a combination with Senegalese artist Natty Jean. He is at home in the Humble Ark entourage in Bamako now. To finally get the attention he deserves in Europe, he will accompany Danakil on their French tour this spring. Natty Jean was musically enculturated in the Senegalese Hip-Hop scene. The second combination with him on this album, Regards Croisés, proves that. This tune features Balik having a succesful try at rapping. A different aspect of him shows the placid Lovers track A Tes Côtés. With its insisting bassline and languorous electric guitar it might be the most beautiful tune on Echos du Temps.
Media features Winston and Matthew McAnuff. Passer pleases with a brass section that sounds sensational even for Danakil‘s standards. At their live shows in France, the Reggae adaptation of Edith Piaf‘s Je Ne Regrette Rien is always well received. Together with U-Roy and Sticky Thompson, Danakil refined the tune even more. The last of the fourteen tunes is a Dub Poetry version of Media, recorded with DJ Lion from Sierra Leone. Like Natty Jean, he is at home in Bamako.
Danakil never sounded better than on Echos du Temps. In France, they already belong to the country‘s greatest Reggae groups alongside Dub Inc. Danakil showed their skills at several festivals in Europe and Canada. If you love handmade Roots that sometimes thinks outside the box, you need to get yourself a copy of Echos du Temps.