Seckou Keita: 22 Strings (MWLDAN/Ode)

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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. 

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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

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