[ Arc / LP ]
Release Date: Friday 10 July 2015
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Seckou Keita has become one of the most influential and inspiring Kora players of his generation, an exceptional and charismatic musician. With 22 Strings, Seckou explores what it means to be a modern global citizen, and to also live with seven centuries of tradition and heritage expressed through music. He gives us the kora in its purest form, a wondrous instrument that can soothe the bloodlust of warriors and take the human spirit to a place of deep meditation, stillness and beauty.
The title of the album says it all. Centuries ago, when the djinns, the spirits of the African bush, gave the first ever kora to the griot Jali Mady 'Wuleng' (Jali Mady 'The Red') it had 22 strings. Then, when Jali Mady died, his fellow griots took one string away in his memory. But back in its birthplace in southern Senegal and Guinea Bissau, the 22-stringed kora survives, with the extra string giving the instrument special advantages in terms of tonal reach and groove. For Seckou Keita, that one extra string represents home: the place where his heart resides.
Comes with full colour booklet with photos and sleeve notes by writer and journalist Andy Morgan.
"Born in Casamance in the south of Senegal but now living in Nottingham, Seckou Keita can be classed alongside the great Toumani Diabaté as one of the adventurous masters of the kora, the African harp. And like Diabaté, he specialises in surprise. His last album, Clychau Dibon, was a gently exquisite set of acoustic duets with the Welsh harpist Catrin Finch, and it rightly picked up a batch of awards. It was preceded by albums in which he explored everything from flamenco to jazz-funk; his latest is an elegant solo set dominated by instrumental compositions. There are African influences, of course, along with tracks that echo western themes, with quietly hypnotic, repeated phrases matched against sturdy melodies. He adds relaxed and soulful vocals to three tracks, and the charming set ends with an upbeat, but still delicate funk finale." - The Guardian
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