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

Various Artists: Rhythms del Mundo, Revival (Ape)

Various Artists: Rhythms del Mundo, Revival (Ape)

After the Buena Vista Social Club alerted the planet to great old, and largely forgotten, musicians in Cuba – and of course the beguiling rhythms of that small island – it was open... > Read more

Silk and Bamboo Ensemble: Traditional Chinese Music (Arc)

Silk and Bamboo Ensemble: Traditional Chinese Music (Arc)

We have been down this seductive and often restful path a few times with the Silk String Quartet, the solo album by pipa/qin player Cheng Yu and the Taoist Music Orchestra of Shanghai -- but the... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

BIRDMAN, a film by ALEJANDRO G INNARITU

BIRDMAN, a film by ALEJANDRO G INNARITU

When films deal with filmmaking, actors or the theatre, they can often be insufferably coded, loaded and playing to the gallery. Asides and references –... > Read more

BEATLES PHOTOGRAPHER JURGEN VOLLMER PROFILED (1994): The man who clicked with the Beatles

BEATLES PHOTOGRAPHER JURGEN VOLLMER PROFILED (1994): The man who clicked with the Beatles

If the name Jurgen Vollmer isn’t familiar at all, it’s because it only ever appears somewhere around the first chapter of even the most brainless Beatles biography -- then drops out... > Read more