The Astar family were out in full force this week as WOMAD sold all 40,000 tickets for the first time at Charlton Park.
Catrin & Seckou played a blinder in the early hours of Saturday morning. Don’t take our word for it… here is what the papers said.
“Catrin Finch and Seckou Keita, a collaboration as delightful as it is unlikely. Finch, a Welsh harpist, was lined up a few years ago to play a tour with Malian kora player Toumani Diabaté, and warmed up by rehearsing with his Senegalese counterpart Keita. Diabaté eventually showed up mere hours before the first of those concerts, and though he was there for the tour, Finch felt a closer connection with Keita. They carried on working together and last year released an album of duets, Clychau Dibon, that proved a surprise hit.
Here, the blend of Manding and Welsh material finally stilled the buzz of chatter around the edge of the tent. They listened intently to each other, nodding and smiling as the songs took shape. They duelled playfully on “Future Strings”, Finch plucking ascending chords and running 47-string-long glissandi in a way that is hard for a kora to emulate, though Keita tried; when she knocked rhythms on the frame of her harp, his echo on the gourd of the kora was resonant and strong. The centrepiece of the set, as of the album, was “Robert Ap Huw Meets Nialing Sonko”: in the second half, when Finch took up the dancing Casamance pattern with her right hand, plucking the occasional bass string with her left, the whole tent held its breath.” Financial Times
“Following Thompson after midnight was the mellifluous award-winning sound of the kora and harp of Seckou Keita and Catrin Finch, as gorgeous as it is on record” Independent
This, I suspect, will be remembered as one of the classic concerts of the year. It was the first London appearance of the celebrated young classical harpist Catrin Finch, and Seckou Keita, the finest British-based exponent of the African harp, the kora
Seckou has a track featured in the new dance craze app Dancetag… (Twitter for dancers!)
Anyone with a smartphone can play. Download the app, choose one of the 30 second pieces of music (including Seckou’s) and then tag interesting places by filming yourself dancing there, and then share your video. You can choose to play just for fun or you can challenge others and become dance champion of your favourite place.
We are delighted to have learned that we have won Songlines Magazine Best Cross-Cultural Collaboration Award 2014.
More than 8,000 Songlines readers from 65 different countries voted for the awards shortlist, with the editorial board deciding the final winners. The magazine celebrates its 100th edition with the issue announcing the awards.
Here we are receiving our fRoots Critics Poll Album of the Year Award 2013 from Cerys Matthews at fRoots Magazine‘s 35th anniversary concert ‘Bridges’ last month. A full feature on the evenings musical escapades is available in the current edition of fRoots Magazine (Photographer: Judith Burrows)
From the review by Robin Denselow in the Guardian of Salif Keita at the Barbican (London) April 2014 with Seckou supporting.
“Seckou Keita, who opened the show, is a British-based kora player who recorded one of the finest albums of last year with the Welsh harpist Catrin Finch. Here playing solo, he sang well and provided the most delicate and hypnotic instrumental work of the night.”
Songlines magazine have announced that Catrin Finch & Seckou Keita have been nominated for the Best Cross-Cultural Collaboration category in the Songlines Music Awards 2014 and have released a compilation album featuring all nominated artists
Now in their sixth year the awards, voted by Songlines readers and the general public, endeavour to celebrate and acknowledge the wealth of musical talent around the world.
For more information go to Songlines Music Awards 2014