My Story

First and foremost I am Orthodox Christian. From my youth through most of my adult life, I lived for many years as a Rastafari then through the influence of Haile Selassie I, his life and teachings and through certain mystical experiences I was brought to the Holy Orthodox Faith by, I believe, the Great and Holy Martyr George, who is also the Patron Saint of Ethiopia (St Giorgis). Upon my entry into the Church, I received the name of Daniel, meaning my Patron Saint is the Holy Prophet Daniel. Now the Orthodox Christian Faith informs and colours my worldview and is influential in my music one hundred percent.

Of course, Reggae is my musical portfolio, having as a child listened and danced to the Ska and the Rocksteady. Then came the Reggae, which was more political and spiritual but also there was lovers rock style which I did like a lot also. My first release in 1990 on my own Rising Son label was a stab at this lovers style but it made no impression on the scene at the time.  In later years I teamed up with Nucleus Roots to provide more hard hitting culture tunes like Run Come Quick and Deep Roots about the call, the history and spiritual heritage of Ethiopia and the Ethiopian monarchy. These tunes, including Step It Up Rasta/Irie Meditation, helped to establish me as a more serious roots reggae artist.

After many years cooling out I returned in 2016 with a tune called Let Your Light Shine on another compilation out of France called Ina Di Radio and in 2017 Tribe 84 Records out of Poland released a track entitled State of Mind. This one I recorded with Nucleus Roots back in 1997 but which was unreleased till now. 

Beyond nucleus Roots I teamed up with Faya Dub in 2005 to come up with When The Bread Come Back produced by Thierry Negro. This song which is a fusion of jazz and reggae also featured on Hexagone Riddims compilation in France as a remix  and was later given a funk remix by another producer for Villa Saint Michel also in France (2007) on a compilation called Samourai Vill-Du. This one about the power of  investing positive works today to bring future rewards continued the positive message I am now known for. 

However, I'm not resting on my past achievements but constantly writing new tunes and have set myself a goal of one new tune per week for 2018. Stay tuned for the upcoming EP and look out also for works with Mad Calypso Studio out of Finland and also Conscious Way Outernational with Humblebeat Incorporated.

I am also now pleased to be executive producer once again, this time for Grandma's Hands, a cover of a soul classic by Bill Withers in a sort of semi-acoustic roots style, arranged and produced by none other than the great P. Lush of Nucleus Roots for Don Hartley Muzik. Release date is set for July 23 meanwhile free download of the track is available here til May 29.

Don Hartley

Photo by Pete Dublab