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 from Elsewhere articles index

NURU KANE PROFILED (2013): A colourful tapestry of sound

NURU KANE PROFILED (2013): A colourful tapestry of sound

One of problems world music artists suffer is some preciousness in their audience which would preserve them in amber like an anthropological specimen. They want an artist to remain true to some... > Read more

Yom: Le Silence de l'Exode (Buda Musique)

Yom: Le Silence de l'Exode (Buda Musique)

This emotionally engaging and often spiritually elevating album is an engrossing journey in music through myth, mystery and landscapes in the crescent between Eastern Europe and North Africa.... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

The Flaming Mudcats: Cut Loose (Mudcat Music)

The Flaming Mudcats: Cut Loose (Mudcat Music)

Now 10 years in the blues-rock game, the Flaming Mudcats here celebrate with a third album of mostly originals by singer/harmonica player Craig Bracken. This tight r'n'b quartet –... > Read more

Elsewhere Art . . . Lola Falana

Elsewhere Art . . . Lola Falana

I'll be honest, I'd never heard of Lola Falana until was flicking the pages of coffee-table book of photographs by Sammy Davis Jr. And I learned two things: Sammy was a more than decent... > Read more