This project is a stunning shared musical journey between two world class virtuosos – Welsh harpist Catrin Finch and West African kora player Seckou Keita.
From Casamance in Senegal, Seckou Keita is both a member of the royal Keita dynasty from Mali (through his father), and a griot, a traditional West African praise singer (through his mother’s family, the Cissokhos, from Senegal). He has built a formidable reputation as “an inspired exponent of the kora”(The Guardian) and is “a brilliant live performer with stacks of charisma” (Lucy Duran, Radio BBC3).
One of the leaders of the newest generation of African traditional musicians, Seckou combines his own musical heritage with a willingness to embrace the traditional forms and instruments of other cultures, and has already blended his kora (21-stringed West African harp) with jazz, funk, rock, Indian classical and all manner of other musical styles.
Harpist Catrin Finch is one of Wales’ leading international musical ambassadors, and one of the world’s finest players of this most Welsh of instruments. The “Queen of Harps”. Her concert appearances with the world’s top orchestras span the globe and she has worked alongside artists such as Bryn Terfel, Sir James Galway and Julian Lloyd-Webber. Hot on the heels of her innovative collaborations with Cimarron from Colombia and Toumani Diabaté from Mali, Catrin Finch is once again proving her radical and adventurous musical spirit with this wedding of Welsh and West African musical culture.
The harp occupies a vital place in the incredibly rich cultures of both Senegal and Wales. The West African harp – the kora – played by Seckou is made from a dried gourd and fishing line; the Welsh harp, played by Catrin, is one of the most iconic symbols of a nation steeped in music. Remarkably, both nations share a centuries-old bardic tradition of intricate oral history, expressed through music, song and verse.