Seckou Keita has arguably become one of the most influential and inspiring Kora player of his generation, an exceptional and charismatic musician. Since the begining of his international career , back in 1996, Seckou has been exploring 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. 22 Strings has then become the perfect name for his 2015 solo album.
Since arriving in the UK in 1999, Keita has been on an epic creative journey that has seen him broaden the idiomatic scope of his instrument, as well as spread his wings, literally and figuratively.
Seckou Keita is considered as one of the world’s foremost kora players. The Guardian describes him as someone who “can be classed alongside the great Toumani Diabate as one of the adventurous masters of the kora”. He is constantly praised for his virtuosity, his unique style and the ingenuity of his tunings.
Since 2003, Seckou Keita has performed over the globe in more than 1000 shows accros 40 countries either as a solo artist or with his ground breaking bands in festivals like WOMAD,,Glastonbury, Tokyo Jazz, Chicago World Music Festival, Sydney International, Perth International Festival, and Montreal Jazz Festivals amongst others.