Seckou releases video for Kouma

Seckou has released a video for Kouma, a track from his excellent CD "Miro" ahead of its full release in France. Click to watch the video. Appropriately, since the song is about communication and interpretation/misinterpretation, it is also one of the few videos that features signalling for hard of hearing viewers (something Seckou was very insistent should be included).


A translation of the song reads

Please tell him. Tell him not to misinterpret my words. I'm talking to those who listen carefully. A mentor gives advice; a griot sings his truth. Someone who speaks likes his words but must remember that those words will be repeated many times. Please tell him not to misunderstand what I am trying to say. Please do not destroy their meaning. A griot will choose they words carefully; I send my words to you but you will try to hear what I am not saying. I know you are clever but that not my intention .Do not read between the lines or choose what you want to hear. A trouser with only one leg full of words will fall over. You must get the other side of the argument and fill the other leg. We have two ears two eyes. But one mouth Listen with Both ears, watch with both eyes but speak only once When you say something, be careful and make sure you only have to say it once. For goodness sake let's not re-interpret the truth. Don't make it up. Sometimes words have different meanings so be careful that you understand correctly. It is not always easy to see the good in someone and what they do until much later. Don't make me say something I didn't say or suggest I did something I didn't do You might not fully understand what I am saying now. So wait until you do before you speak


Seckou featured in Dancetag app

Zq12_r2lSeckou 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.

For more info go to


Guardian: "Seckou Keita provided the most hypnotic instrumental work of the night"

Seckou amd Salif 2From 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."

Seckou rocked it!


Catrin and Seckou related titles reduced on iTunes

itunesWe have a special offer on itunes at the moment for the following gems from our back catalogue (for a limited period only):

Catrin Finch & Cimarron ‘Yn Byw’ £4.99,

Seckou Keita SKQ ‘The Silimbo Passage’ £4.99,

Seckou Keita ‘Mira’ £5.99

Seckou & Catrin New Tour Dates

9089336054_d33bf7774d_oSeckou and Catrin will be out on the road again. Firstly couple of dates in March:

  • March 01 Rasa Harp Festival Utrecht NL
  • March 14 Queen Elizabeth Hall (FRoots 35th Anniversary Show) London

Then it is a tour in May:

  • May 02 Wyeside Arts Centre Builth Wells
  • May 03 Taliesin Arts Centre Swansea
  • May 04 Theatr Mwldan Cardigan
  • May 08 The Roses Tewkesbury
  • May 09 The Sage Gateshead
  • May 10 Royal Northern College of Music Manchester
  • May 11 Usher Hall Edinburgh
  • May 13 St Davids Hall Cardiff
  • May 14 Bush Hall London
  • May 15 Borough Theatre Abergavenny
  • May 16 The Welfare Ystradgynlais
  • May 17 MOMA Machynlleth

See you there!

Rootsworld Review for Catrin & Seckou

Alex Brown writes in Rootsworld magazine the month:

"While these two musicians come from different backgrounds, the music of Wales and West Africa have long been passed down over generations through oral history. Throughout Clychau Dibon, fragments of Welsh and Manding melodies intersect to form dynamic interpretations of traditional tunes, in addition to original compositions written by Keita.

While the kora and harp sound strikingly similar, their playing styles are quite different. Thanks to John Hollis’ production, the subtleties of Finch and Keita’s techniques are easy to hear and distinguish. Both instruments are soothing to the ear, but don’t think this is background music. To hear all of the intricacies, take some time to sit down and absorb this beautiful music. The strings roll in and out like waves, cascading plucked majesty through the speakers.

Finch and Keita seem to accomplish everything they set out to capture on this recording. The interplay between both musicians is fascinating and remarkable. When one performer takes a lead, the other offers support with vibrant arpeggios and harmonies. Through slow, delicate passages or quick, jaunty embellishments, Keita’s bass string rhythm brings balance to each song, setting the pace through slight alterations of tempo. The cultures of Wales and Senegal may differ, but these artists share their musical histories with honesty and enthusiasm"

For the full review go to:

Ceffylau on Desert Island Discs

did_logo_text11Ceffylau from the album Clychau Dibon was played on BBC Radio 4's Desert Islnd Discs over the festive season. Kirsty Young's castaway that week was Gillian Clarke.

Wales's National Poet, she has received the Queen's Gold Medal for her work. She writes about everything from dinosaurs to suicide, but the potency and power of nature is a recurring motif.


We are in the Guardian Top 5! Guardian's Robin Denselow has named Clychau Dibon in his the top five album picks of 2013. "This is an intriguing fusion project in which Catrin Finch, the celebrated Welsh harp player, teamed up with Seckou Keita, an exponent of the West African harp, the kora. The result is an elegant instrumental set that mixes tranquil, hypnotic passages with rapid-fire improvisation, as the melody lines constantly switch between the two instruments."

A good start to the New Year!



We are delighted with the announcement from Ian Anderson on Lopa Kothari's BBC Radio 3 show tonight that our Catrin Finch & Seckou Keita album, Clychau Dibon, has won the fRoots magazine Critics Poll Album Of The Year for 2013.
Congratulations Seckou, Catrin and the team and thanks to everyone who feels the force!

Catrin & Seckou Financial Times Review

financial_times_logoBy David Honigmann

A royal harpist from Wales teams up with a kora player (which is to say, another court harpist) from Senegal.

Finch and Keita swap tunes from both traditions, one taking the lead while the other fills and improvises around the edges, then seamlessly trading places.

‘Robert Ap Huw Meets Nialing Sonko’ is the centrepiece: 16th century harp tunes playing off against the blissful melodies of the Casamance.


Catrin & Seckou London Evening Standard Review


Clychau Dibon

(Astar Artes)


Welsh harp and Senegalese kora – a sublime duo of two artists who are masters of their instruments. Yet it might not have worked, because both instruments are plucked and often it’s better to have more contrasted textures. But just listening to the way the opening track builds up, you can feel a sense of musicality and architecture at work with both artists drawing on the traditional repertoire of their respective cultures. Both of them are no strangers to collaboration, but this is their most seductive. The overall effect is of a rich web of sound, but they bring moments of drama when necessary. I also suspect that it’s something that will get more intriguing and appealing the better you get to know it.

Simon Broughton

Catrin and Seckou Autumn Tour Announced

2duoWe are please to announce (and very excited too) that Catrin and Seckou will be touring again in the Autumn.

20/10/13     TRURO         Hall For Cornwall
30/10/13     BURY ST EDMUNDS     The Apex     
01/11/13     SALISBURY     Salisbury Arts Centre
02/11/13     BROMSGROVE     Artrix     
06/11/13     Brecon         Theatr Brycheiniog     
07/11/13     FELINFACH     Theatr Felinfach
08/11/13     LLANELLI         Y Ffwrnes     
09/11/13     MILFORD HAVEN     Torch     
10/11/13     HARLECH     Theatr Harlech     
13/11/13     PONTARDAWE     Arts Centre     
14/11/13     NEWTOWN     Theatr Hafren     
15/11/13     BANGOR         Neuadd Prichard Jones     
16/11/13     PWLLHELI     Neuadd Dwyfor
17/11/13     HOLYHEAD     Ucheldre
20/11/13     NOTTINGHAM     Lakeside AC, Djanogly Theatre     
21/11/13     KENDAL         Brewery Arts     
22/11/13     HULL           Hull Truck Theatre

The full details can be found in the "Live" section of the website.

Seckou's track Hino nominated for an IMA

IMA-Logo-292x300Astar are very proud to congratulate Seckou Keita on being nominated in the World Traditional Song Category for "Hino" in The 12th Annual Independent Music Awards..
The Judge-determined IMA Winners will be announced in May.
In addition to industry-determined Winners, fans from around the world have until Friday, July 19, 2013 to cast their votes at The IMA Vox Pop Jukebox to determine the fan-selected IMA Winners. So please visit and register your vote!