Senegalese-born, UK-based kora player Seckou Keita won the Cross-Cultural Collaboration award at the Songlines Music Awards in 2014 for an album he recorded with Welsh harpist Catrin Finch.
He also won for 22 Strings, a mostly instrumental set of exquisite solo kora playing full of meditative grace, sublime poise, and consummate elegance. He was born into a griot family in Casamance, southern Senegal, in 1978, although he currently resides in England.
He began playing the kora when he was seven years old, and after providing musical support for a number of other artists, including Baka Beyond, he published his first solo album in 2000. After completing his current solo kora record, he plans to resume working with others on an album of duets with the Cuban pianist Omar Sosa. Everything in music ought to be genuine, he believes, and the underlying meanings of the tunes must be protected at all costs. This is why it’s crucial that musical compatibility be taken into account when forming partnerships.
The kora’s repertoire shares similarities with other musical traditions, such as those of Cuba, India, and Wales. They may be explored without losing the particular tastes of the diverse cultures and styles.”