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Seckou Keita's 22 Strings

Seckou Keita – 22 Strings

label: ARC MUSIC

The Kora is an ancient West African instrument. The legend goes that djinns or spirits of the Savannah gave the first Kora to a traditional bard named Jadi Mady Wuleng centuries ago. It was a marvelous instrument, highly sophisticated with 22 strings. When Jali Mady died his fellow griots removed one string in his memory. The Kora from Southern Senegal and Northern Guinea maintained the ancient traditional 22 strings allowing for more tonal and melodic possibilities.

Seckou Keita from the Casamance region of southern Senegal was a childhood prodigy from an ancestry rich with griots and kings. He began his instruction at the age of seven. By the age of fifteen Seckou began to travel and play music worldwide. Along the way he has performed with Baka Beyond, Neil Finn, Yossou N’Dour, Miriam Makeba and Francis Fuster. In 2003 he formed a family band called Jali Kunda and toured extensively in the UK, Scandinavia and Spain.

The recording features only Kora and voice and the waves of sound envelope the listener with a warm and peaceful quality, timeless in its beauty. Never mind that the language is unfamiliar, 22 Strings is an amazing recording transporting the listener to a more pastoral time. Not to be missed. — TD

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