Review, Videos & Photos: Danakil in Cologne, Germany 12/5/2011
Review: Danakil @ Underground in Cologne, Germany 12/05/2011
A concert of a French reggae band on a Monday evening in a club in Cologne, Germany - that just cannot work, right? The expectations of reggae superstars (in their native France, at least) Danakil and the bunch of discriminating German critiques who had shown up were limited, to say the least. As well known as Danakil are back at home, they are still more of an insider‘s tip in their eastern neighbours‘ country.
In 2009, Danakil gave their debut in Germany at the SummerJam Festival in Cologne. They came back one year later and again left a lasting impression, one that explains the warm and enthusiastic welcome with which the eight members of the group plus additional singer Natty Jean from Ras Manjul‘s Humble Ark camp were received. This time in Cologne, they kicked off their first real tour through Germany. A quick intro led into L‘Avenir from the album the French guys are promoting on this tour: Echos Du Temps, that masterpiece they had recorded in several studios in Jamaica (including Tuff Gong and Harry J‘s) and Humble Ark in Mali. When the quintessential tune from Echos Du Temps was on, Quitter Paname, the massive was already well warmed up and dancing along.
Danakil‘s Gaulish adaptation of brass-rich roots reggae is easy on European ears. Known for their mélange of French chansons with more traditional Jamaican roots spiced up with tenuto brass melody lines, their sound is absolutely unique. The energy and dedication they show on stage is highly contagious. Whether you are the I-just-want-to-party-hard type of concert goer or the sophisticated music aficionado, if you saw Danakil live once, in all likelihood you willl want to attend more of their concerts.
There is no more “I don‘t like Mondays” if you start the week with attending a nice concert. With the crowd firmly hooked, Danakil dived into some of their older material. Apparently, most visitors knew Les Champs De Roses well, one of those tunes you could call a Danakil classic if the group had been around just a few years longer. Another real crowdpleaser was their reggae adaptation of Edith Piaf‘s classic Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien. Many people knew the lyrics, despite the language barrier that kept non-French speakers from understanding everything. English speeches in between the songs helped those to follow the message that is such an important part of Danakil‘s music and mission.
Working through their well-balanced mix of older, more recent and latest material, Senegalese native Natty Jean toasted and rapped lead on three of his own tunes that will be found on his upcoming album Santa Yalla - Aida, I Believe and Taalibé. Having his distinct voice on Danakil‘s stuff as a very supportive background voice adds a nice touch. His voice goes together well with that of Balik, Danakil‘s lead singer.
One encore was audibly not enough for the Cologne massive, but curfew was strict. Mildly exhausted you walk away with a smile, thinking that there is absolutely nothing wrong with enjoying some great live music during the week. I would like to have that way more often!
Danakil will be on tour in Germany until the 13th of December. Just do not miss an opportunity to see them in action. You might very well head home afterwards singing “Non, je ne regrette rien”.
Watch some videos from the show in Cologne below... PHOTOS HERE!