Seckou Keita SKQ - The Silimbo PassageWorld Adventures
If ever the term ‘world music’ could apply to a band, then it’s here. Seckou Keita SKQ is a quintet, consisting of Senegal’s Keita on the kora (a 21 string harp/lute like instrument from West Africa, played using only the thumbs and index fingers), accompanied by an Italian double/electric bassist, an Egyptian violinist, and a percussionist and vocalist both hailing from The Gambia. But don’t let that scare you; this isn’t some kind of hideous concept fusion group (the stuff of politically correct, right-on musical nightmares). Far from it. This is genuinely beautiful and uplifting music that requires little or no explanation. The focus is on Keita’s crisp, clean and impeccable playing of established West African roots sounds, with sympathetic support from the accomplished musicians around him, adding little tweaks of Arabic or flamenco rhythm here and there. A wonderful album that had me engrossed and that played all the way through twice before I even touched the controls.
Tom Breslin, 05/08