Two Keitas for the price of one! Seckou supports Salif.

January 24th, 2014

salifSeckou will be playing a solo show supporting Salif Keita at the Barbican Centre, London on 8th April. For tickets and info go to https://www.barbican.org.uk/music/event-detail.asp?ID=15337

Toto La Momposina Announces European Tour 2014

January 24th, 2014

LatestToto will be touring Europe in February 2014 with her full band.

The dates are:

2014-02-14    RASA        UTRECHT  
2014-02-15    THEATRE MOLIERE    BRUSSELS  
2014-02-16    GROUNDS        ROTTERDAM   
2014-02-18    KONZERTHAUS         DORTMUND 
2014-02-19    KONZERTHAUS         BERLIN  
2014-02-20    BRUCKNERHAUS        LINZ   
2014-02-22    ELBPHILHARMONIE        HAMBURG  
2014-02-27    ROCKSTORE        MONTPELLIER 
2014-02-28    SALA APOLO        BARCELONA

Go to the events page for more ticket details

Rootsworld Review for Catrin & Seckou

January 24th, 2014

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: http://www.rootsworld.com/reviews/finch-keita-14.shtml

French review of The Brave from Culture Dub

January 23rd, 2014

AMJ meets RSD ft. Mariama Kouyate – The Brave – 12″ Astar Music

Voici une sortie pour le moins atypique que nous a envoyé en avant première le label anglais Astar… Une rencontre improbable entre le Sénégal et le dub anglais, disponible prochainement en vinyle.

AMJ-Brave

AMJ meets RSD ft. Mariama Kouyate – 12″ The Brave

Créé par un musicien aventurier du nom de John Hollis, le label Astar Artes, que l’on qualifierait de world music, s’apprête à sortir un second vinyle de la rencontre entre AMJ et RSD. Si vous connaissez sûrement RSD (Rob Smith, membre du duo trip-hop Smith & Mighty), le nom de AMJ ne vous dit peut-être rien… AMJ est un collectif de musiciens formé autour d’Andy Clarke à la batterie, Mark Spence à la basse et du producteur John Hollis (ex membre du groupe de reggae anglais Restriction).

Mariama Kouyate

 Pour ce second vinyle en commun, ils ont décidé de faire appel à une jeune chanteuse de Dakar, Mariama Kouyate. Ses mots, chantés en mandingue et en wolof, parlent des différentes luttes de la vie, précisant qu’avec la pensée positive, nous pouvons relever les défis et les surmonter.

La mélodie a été écrite dans les années 1980 par Basil Anderson du  groupe Restriction pour la chanson « I Want to be Alone ». Pour cette nouvelle version, AMJ a invité, outre Mariama Kouyaté, le guitariste sénégalais Moustapha Gaye sur le titre « Kana Bori », le cubain Jose Zalba sur la version à la flûte traversière, ainsi que ses compatriotes Vicente Arrencibia aux congas et Michel Salazar aux claviers.

Le résultat est étonnant, une sorte de reggae dub très mélodieux, avec la touche de stepper de RSD qu’il faut pour faire vivre le morceau décliné en 4 versions.

AMJ meets RSD ft. Mariama Kouyate – The Brave (Astar Music)

  1. The Brave (Mounia-La)
  2. The Brave – Dub
  3. Kana Bori
  4. The Brave – Flute Cut

Le vinyle sera disponible le 3 Mars 2014. Plus d’infos sur www.amjcollective.com

Loob

Original post at Culture Dub

Ceffylau on Desert Island Discs

January 11th, 2014

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!

January 10th, 2014

http://www.cyclingscotland.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/184_2349_guardian_logo.jpgThe 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."

http://www.theguardian.com/music/musicblog/2013/dec/23/robin-denselow-top-five-world-music-albums-of-2013

A good start to the New Year!

CLYCHAU DIBON WINS ALBUM OF THE YEAR!

December 7th, 2013

WINNER FROOTS BANNER

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!
 

TOTO RECEIVES LATIN GRAMMY LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD

December 6th, 2013

totogrammyawardCongratulations to Toto for her Lifetime Achievement Award which she received at the Latin Grammys in Las Vegas. She graciously said in her address that the Award was for all those who had helped her on the way – her family, all the musicians that have passed through her band, her son Marco Vinicio and her son-in-law John Hollis.

http://www.latingrammy.com/en/photos/toto-la-momposina

AMJ Reggaemani Review

November 27th, 2013

Reggaemani
04 November 2013 · 22:01
An inspired and ambient debut from AMJ Collective

Former Restriction members Mark Spence, Andy Clarke and John Hollis have re-united after three decades as AMJ Collective. Last year they dropped the 12” Sound History Volume 1 and now it’s time for a debut full-length effort.

On Sign they have worked with a diverse set of musicians from various parts of the world in order to create an ambient, atmospheric and warm reggae album with African and Latin tocuhes. This album is something truly special and it, for example, features Cuban trumpeter Michel Padron and Colombian guitarist Camilo Menjura on an inspired version of Don Corleon’s Drop Leaf riddim.

It was recorded in Bristol, Paris, Havana and London and offers deep and relaxed grooves, but also glances at dubstep and dub. Traditional reggae is merged with lush strings and singer Kaia McTernan graces Sign of the Times with her ethereal voice.

Sign is deeply rooted in reggae, but it also pushes boundaries and takes reggae to new and exciting places. It’s a dreamy, contemporary and global groove.

http://reggaemani.wordpress.com/tag/amj-collective/

Two Harps That Beat As One: Catrin Finch and Seckou Keita (VIDEO)

November 26th, 2013

huffpost_3lineTwo Harps That Beat As One: Catrin Finch and Seckou Keita (VIDEO)
by Michal Shapiro

Huffington Post 11/20/2013

To view a video of Bamba from the WOMEX showcase that is included with this article online go to http://www.huffingtonpost.com/michal-shapiro/two-harps-that-beat-as-on_b_4308317.html

Almost 25 years ago, I was walking down West 4th street in Manhattan, and heard a harp-like sound that seemed extraordinarily out of place in the urban noise surrounding me. I tried to locate the source, and eventually realized it was emanating from three tall, slender men in robes who were sauntering up the block ahead of me. I sped up my pace and as I got abreast of them, saw that one of them was playing what I learned later was a kora, as he strolled.

And something magical was happening; the instrument changed the environment surrounding the three, and all around it, people were calmed and drawn to it. These three stately men had everyone –including myself — in thrall with the pure, rippling notes of the kora. The instrument itself was sort of a cross between a harp and a some kind of lute, and the most conspicuous part, the resonator, was half of a large gourd. I walked a block out of my way before tearing myself from the sound to go home.

Since then, there have been quite a few musical collaborations involving the kora in combination with other western instruments. (The wonderful "Chamber Music" with Ballaké Sissoko and Vincent Segal is one of the most successful.) But as far as I know, the collaboration between Seckou Keita and Catrin Finch is the first one to pair the kora with another harp. And upon hearing this duet, one actually wonders what took so long.

The two musicians in this duo are well matched, Keita has a history of innovating and experimenting with his instrument — he plays a western-machined double necked kora — but has been careful to always maintain some distinctive root of his beloved West African music. Catrin Finch (known in her home country of Wales as the Queen of Harps) is also known for her forays into experimental music, as well as her mastery of the standard classical and folk repertoire. For their performance at WOMEX 2013, Keita brought both a single and a double necked kora, while Finch played a striking Camac "Big Blue 47" concert harp with pickups on each of the 47 strings.

There was quite a buzz building up to their performance at WOMEX, which this year was in Cardiff, Wales. It was unfortunate that it took place in a rather small concert room instead of the big auditorium, as it filled up to capacity far too quickly and many delegates could not get in to see the show.The room was jammed with a mostly Welsh audience, and anticipation crackled in the air. I was pretty much crushed up against the apron of the stage, almost in the middle… not the best angle for shooting!

When Finch and Keita play together, there is a complete immersion one with the other. Keita plays the rhythmic patterns and Finch's precise fingers play a counterpoint or a harmony figure and it all just feels right. Keita grins when Finch plays a stately figure enhancing his motif, and Finch nods back, giving Keita the room to cascade away on the kora. And that's quite a blazing solo he takes at the end, I might add. Through it all, there is a close communication that is palpable. Purists from one tradition or another may take issue with this blend — and I did hear one opinion voiced that it sounded too Welsh and not sufficiently Senegalese, but I think it is just that the two players have made allowances for each others music, and this give and take creates a true hybrid. At any rate, I was in string heaven, awash in pleasure from lovely music, exquisitely played.