Mojo Magazine have put Catrin Finch and Seckou Keita’s CD in their Top 5 World Releases of 2014!
Catrin and Seckou have announced two new shows for 2015.
They will play Celtic Connections in February and the Shrewsbury Folk Festival in August.
More dates to follow! See the Live page for full details.
Happy too that we are starting a new partnership with the Boa Viagem concert agency who are booking out the shows. Tour news will follow!
The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: Monday 28th July 2014 By Barry Leighton
You could see it in their faces – elation at having their music appreciated by so many people, pride at being part of an outstanding performance at a major festival and very likely relief that it all went so well.
Some 100 young musicians, singers and dancers from in and around Malmesbury opened this year’s WOMAD Festival with a spectacular, hour-long set of high energy roots reggae that had thousands of fans dancing ecstatically in a field.
Every year since the festival moved from Reading to Charlton Park, near the town, in 2007 music students from Malmesbury School and a cluster of surrounding village schools have collaborated with a group of world class musicians to open the event.
This year they linked up with a Bristol based reggae collective AMJ – John Hollis, Mark Spence and Andy Clarke – and after just a week or so of rehearsals had the unnerving task of performing what they had learnt in front of a huge crowd at the festival’s main, open air stage.
As the early evening sun beamed onto hordes of people swarming onto the grassy arena at 7pm on Thursday the ranks of singers and musicians, all wearing colourful T-shirts, struck-up a reggae beat that immediately had everyone dancing.
The AMJ collective provided a slick and solid reggae Afro framework within which the young musicians and singers expressed themselves while the dancers hardly stopped moving throughout.
“It was amazing, really amazing,” said breathless 11 year-old dancer Lily Gee-Smith, of Malmesbury primary school, minutes after stepping off-stage.
“I was slightly nervous at first but once we got started it was great.”
Fellow Malmesbury primary school pupil Sakura Clemo, 10, one of the singers, said: “It was really, really fun. A great experience. When you get on stage you don’t feel nervous any more – you just enjoy it.
“I could see my mum, my grandparents, and lots of people I knew in the crowd. Everyone seemed to be enjoying it. They were all dancing.”
Toby Journeaux, 17, normally plays classical and jazz saxophone but had to adapt his style to fit into a Jamaican groove for what was called The Road To Reggae project.
“I’d not experienced reggae at all until the rehearsals so it was all new to me,” he said.
“But I’ve learnt a lot and it went really well. We were improvising a lot, bouncing off each other. It was great fun.”
Another Malmesbury School student Lucy Kershaw, 16, one of the singers, said: “It was a really fantastic experience. They (AMJ) were great people to work with. They were really good teachers. Was I nervous? Not at all. AMJ made us all feel really confident.”
Malmesbury School music teacher Debbie Corscadden said: “It was brilliant. It went really, really well. The students pulled out all the stops.”
Around half the students on-stage were from Malmesbury School while another 50 were recruited for the session from five local primary schools – Malmesbury, Brinkworth Earl Danby, Minety, Lea & Garsdon and Crudwell.
Their performance set the template for the fo llowing three days which saw around 30,000 world music fans converge on the Earl of Suffolk’s back garden to experience approximately 100 artists/bands from virtually every corner of the planet.
The spirit of Bob Marley has been alive, well and kicking up some unfamiliar but decidedly heady rhythms in Malmesbury over the past week and a half as the town has gone reggae crazy.
In the space of five days around 100 children applied their musical skills to performing some funky reggae beats in preparation for next week’s WOMAD Festival.
Music students from Malmesbury School and a cluster of village schools in the vicinity have risen to the challenge of creating their own take on the sunshine sounds of Jamaica.
During a series of intense sessions throughout last week they were tutored at the school by three experienced Bristol-based reggae musicians John Hollis, Mark Spence and Andy Clarke, known collectively as AMJ.
The trio – who also brought along several guest musicians – taught the children, aged between eight and 18, the basics of the music that emerged from the ghettos of Kingston during the 1960s.
On Tuesday Malmesbury’s reggae ensemble had a dress rehearsal within the medieval walls of the ruined abbey that has been more used to the sombre chants of monks.
Now the young reggae orchestra is set to open the four-day WOMAD – World of Music Art and Dance Festival – with a performance of material especially written for the event by AMJ on the main stage at 7pm on July 24.
“There’s been a positive vibration ever since the project began,” said music teacher Debbie Corscadden, quoting a phrase from the Bob Marley song of the same name.
“The school has certainly been filled with sunny, laidback music,” she said. “The children were very excited to be working with professional reggae musicians. Some of them are accomplished musicians themselves – even those as young as 12.”
While the younger children focused on singing and dancing, the older ones have learnt how to apply their talents to the singular reggae beat on a variety of instruments including bass, brass, guitars, keyboards and percussion.
It has now become a tradition for children in the area to open the event on the Thursday night in front of thousands of fans with a performance alongside a top world music band.
First broadcast: Saturday 16 August 2014
Global Beats showcases up and coming musical talent from around the world. Presenter Max Reinhardt explores the unique music that can result when artists from different traditions come together to create new sounds. As a broadcaster, event curator and director, Max’s musical life has focused on bringing together contrasting and diverse musical traditions.
This week, the programme also featured the magical sound of strings with Catrin Finch’s harp making award-winning music with the kora of Seckou Keita.
Click below to listen to the interview.
Racontez-nous la genèse du projet.
Seckou Keita : En mars 2012, mon manager, John Hollis, m’appelle en urgence alors que j’étais à Rome pour un concert pour l’Onu. Il avait lancé un projet entre le Malien Toumani Diabaté et la Galloise Catrin Finch. À cause des événements au Mali, ça n’a pas pu se faire comme prévu. Je suis arrivé dans le studio de Catrin qui n’avait aucune connaissance de la musique africaine et dès le premier jour, nous avons travaillé six heures. Finalement, Toumani est arrivé juste avant le premier des cinq concerts et le duo s’est transformé en trio pour les dates de Cardiff et Swansea .
Catrin Finch : Quand on joue avec certains musiciens, il y a un respect mutuel qui s’installe vraiment et c’est ce qu’il s’est passé avec Seckou. On a décidé de pousser le projet plus loin et ça a abouti à l’album “Clychau Dibon” sorti à l’automne .
Comment définiriez-vous votre musique ?
S. K. : C’est difficile de mettre une étiquette là-dessus. Ce n’est pas classique, ce n’est pas world… C’est le résultat d’une expérience totale où l’on a dû aller l’un vers l’autre et chercher la ressemblance entre nos deux harpes. En fait, ce n’est pas de la musique du monde, c’est de la musique pour le monde !
C. F. : Je viens d’un monde très classique, lui d’une tradition de griot, très orale… On est tellement éloignés au départ qu’on pourrait peut-être ranger notre disque sur l’étagère “tout et n’importe quoi” ! ?
Avez-vous rencontré des difficultés à accorder vos répertoires respectifs ?
C. F. : Lorsque j’ai découvert les rythmiques que Seckou a connues toute sa vie, ça a été très difficile à assimiler. Venant d’une formation classique, j’essayais d’écrire nos compositions mais ça n’avait aucun sens, c’est quelque chose qui se ressent. C’est en jouant qu’on a compris qu’il y avait de nombreuses structures communes .
S. K. : Il y a en fait beaucoup de passerelles entre les mélodies galloises des XVe et XVIe siècles et la musique traditionnelle du Sénégal, de la Gambie et du Mali qui datent à peu près de la même époque. Elles se “parlent”. Ça a pris peu d’efforts à marier. D’autre part, Catrin est une incroyable joueuse de harpe, elle a réussi à complètement se déconnecter de sa formation. Pour l’un comme pour l’autre il s’agissait tout simplement d’élargir nos horizons .
Quel a été votre mode de fonctionnement ?
S. K. : Au départ, je suis venu avec mes compositions et quelques morceaux traditionnels, car il fallait trouver des ressemblances entre les deux harpes. Après des recherches sur Llio Rhydderch, avec qui j’avais partagé une tournée en 2002, on a retrouvé un air qu’on a repris, en y ajoutant nos idées ; c’est devenu “Les bras de mer”. Il y a aussi “Robert Ap Huw meets Nialing Sonko”, qui vient du mélange de deux morceaux traditionnels qui se jouent avec les mêmes notes. Je n’ai rien changé sauf le tempo. Ces deux morceaux parlaient “la même langue”. Ça nous a trop excités, on s’est dit : “Woaw comment se fait-il que ça se passe comme ça ?” En fait, le travail avait déjà été fait par nos ancêtres !”
C. F. : Après deux ans à travailler ensemble, on se pousse plus l’un l’autre. Le processus de création change. Au départ il fallait poser des bases. Aujourd’hui on est plus créatifs, on comprend mieux ce que peuvent faire nos instruments. Pendant les balances, par exemple, on arrive avec des petites idées. On sort vite nos smartphones pour ne pas les oublier mais là on arrive à tout un catalogue prêt à être enregistré !
Il y aura donc une suite à Clychau Dibon ?
C. F. : Peut-être ! On ne sait pas encore, mais pour l’instant notre premier album est toujours “en vie”. On ne va pas prendre une décision trop rapide mais on le souhaite .
S. K. : On a déjà fait une trentaine de dates ensemble, il nous en reste une vingtaine et, autour de février 2015, on devrait sortir nos projets personnels. On est prêts pour un nouveau projet commun mais le temps ne nous le permet pas pour l’instant, on doit d’abord retrouver nos sources .
Catrin & Seckou played a blinder in the early hours of Saturday morning. Don’t take our word for it… here is what the papers said.
“Catrin Finch and Seckou Keita, a collaboration as delightful as it is unlikely. Finch, a Welsh harpist, was lined up a few years ago to play a tour with Malian kora player Toumani Diabaté, and warmed up by rehearsing with his Senegalese counterpart Keita. Diabaté eventually showed up mere hours before the first of those concerts, and though he was there for the tour, Finch felt a closer connection with Keita. They carried on working together and last year released an album of duets, Clychau Dibon, that proved a surprise hit.
Here, the blend of Manding and Welsh material finally stilled the buzz of chatter around the edge of the tent. They listened intently to each other, nodding and smiling as the songs took shape. They duelled playfully on “Future Strings”, Finch plucking ascending chords and running 47-string-long glissandi in a way that is hard for a kora to emulate, though Keita tried; when she knocked rhythms on the frame of her harp, his echo on the gourd of the kora was resonant and strong. The centrepiece of the set, as of the album, was “Robert Ap Huw Meets Nialing Sonko”: in the second half, when Finch took up the dancing Casamance pattern with her right hand, plucking the occasional bass string with her left, the whole tent held its breath.” Financial Times
“Following Thompson after midnight was the mellifluous award-winning sound of the kora and harp of Seckou Keita and Catrin Finch, as gorgeous as it is on record” Independent
AMJ were also a huge success on the main stage with the Malmesbury schools’ project. Their biggest gig yet and the Collective has expanded tenfold!
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
Hope to see you there.