Seckou Keita: 22 Strings (MWLDAN/Ode)

 |   |  <1 min read

Seckou Keita: If Only I Knew
Seckou Keita: 22 Strings (MWLDAN/Ode)

The title of this exceptional album by the gifted kora player Seckou Keita refers to the fact that the 21-string kora originally had one extra string  . . . but that was removed centuries ago out of respect when the griot and kora master Jali Mady died.

Here Keita -- who has clearly earned the right, his other albums have been wonderful -- returns to the original instrument for these meditations. 

There is a quietude in these 10 poised pieces, which frequently have a stately quality, sometimes suggesting a front parlour recital more than the broad landscapes of the instrument's origins in West Africa. 

That sense of stillness perhaps reflects Keita's desire to return to a more simple and reflective style of playing in a world where the kora now sits in electronic settings and is often played with blinding ferocity.

But there is a gentle vitality here (as on N'doke which translates to Little Bro) and sometimes resonant vocals which add an extra dimension to this emotionally transporting experience.   

Mesmerising. 

Share It

Your Comments

Keith Hoolihan - Jul 27, 2015

Thank you for this recommendation [ and others over the years ] :-)


am enjoying 22 Strings right now. Anouar Brahem is another goodie

post a comment

More from this section   World Music articles index

Staff Benda Bilili: Bouger le Monde (Crammed Discs/Southbound)

Staff Benda Bilili: Bouger le Monde (Crammed Discs/Southbound)

Recently while looking out music for a DJ night of African music I played dozens of tracks at home back-to-back searching for the best sounds . . . and one thing became very clear. Most of this... > Read more

Natacha Atlas: Mounqaliba/In a State of Reversal (World Village)

Natacha Atlas: Mounqaliba/In a State of Reversal (World Village)

This great interpreter of Arabic music has made a number of appearances at Elsewhere for her sinuous voice and often remarkable songs. She could hold her own with TransGobal Undergrounds in the... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

Lesley Gore: You Don't Own Me (1963)

Lesley Gore: You Don't Own Me (1963)

For someone who was only semi-professional, tiny Lesley Gore (5' 2") was astonishingly busy in the Sixties: Between '63 and '69 she released 29 singles (19 of them went Top 100) and eight... > Read more

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Darren Watson

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Darren Watson

Darren Watson of Wellington, the capital of New Zealand, has long been a multiple-threat; powerful and souldful singer; excellent blues guitarist; great songwriter. He first came to attention... > Read more