Variously described as a ‘griot (praise singer), composer, djembe master, virtuoso and pioneer’, Seckou Keita is a rare type of musician, seated in tradition whilst constantly pushing the boundaries of his art.
A true master of the kora - a 22 stringed West African harp - Seckou, from the Casamance area of Southern Senegal, was a childhood prodigy, born of a line of griots and kings. Cissokho, his mother’s family name, gave life to his talent; Keita, his father’s, gave him royal blood. Seckou has graced the international stage since 1996, earning worldwide acclaim for his kora playing and appearing with a host of fellow artists including Salif Keita, Paul Weller, Damon Alban and the Orchestra of Syrian Musicians, Youssou N’Dour, Miriam Makeba and Neil Finn.
His last two albums Miro and The Silimbo Passage hit No.1 in the European world music charts, and Clychau Dibon, the fruit of his collaboration with Finch, won fRoots Critics Poll Album of The Year 2013, Songlines Magazine Best Cross-Cultural Collaboration 2014, and two BBC Radio 2 Folk Award nominations. In 2016 he won the Songlines award for Best Album for Africa and Middle-East for 22 Strings.
Seckou Keita has arguably become the most influential and inspiring Kora player of his generation, an exceptional and charismatic musician. Through his recent solo album 22 Strings, he explores what it means to be a modern global citizen, and yet to live with seven centuries of tradition and heritage expressed through music. Seckou 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.
Visit Seckoukeita.com to read Seckou's full biography.