JWQ Showcase 2017

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

SENEGAL: Seckou Keita - Seckou Keita 22 Strings (2015)


Seckou Keita has arguably become the most influential and inspiring Kora player of his generation, an exceptional and charismatic musician. In his new album 22 Strings, Seckou explores what it means to be a modern global citizen, and yet to live with seven centuries of tradition and heritage expressed through music. He gives us the kora in its purest guise, a wondrous instrument that can soothe the bloodlust of warriors and take the human spirit to a place of deep meditation, stillness and beauty. The title of the album says it all. Centuries ago, when the djinns, the spirits of the African bush, gave the first ever kora to the griot Jali Mady 'Wuleng' (Jali Mady 'The Red') it had 22 strings. Then, when Jali Mady died, his fellow griots took one string away in his memory. But back in its birthplace in southern Senegal and Guinea Bissau, the 22-stringed kora survives, with the extra string giving the instrument special advantages in terms of tonal reach and groove. For Seckou Keita, that one extra string represents home: the place where his heart resides.