Senegalese kora player Seckou Keita has won the category for ‘Best African & Middle Eastern’ album in the Songlines Music Awards 2016 with his solo release ‘22 Strings’.
The Songlines Music Award Winners 2016 have been announced as follows: Best Artist (nominated by the public) Mariza (Mundo on Parlophone); Best Group (nominated by the public) Africa Express (Terry Riley’s In C Mali on Transgressive Records); Newcomer Songhoy Blues (Music in Exile on Transgressive Records); Africa & Middle East Seckou Keita (22 Strings on ARC Music); Americas Lila Downs (Balas y Chocolate on Sony Music); Europe Sam Lee (The Fade in Time on Nest Collective Records); Fusion Ballaké Sissoko & Vincent Segal (Musique de Nuit on No Format!) and the Inaugural World Pioneer Award is for Island Records’ founder, Chris Blackwell.
Following the critical acclaim of his award-winning collaborative project with Welsh harpist Catrin Finch, the extraordinary Senegalese kora player Seckou Keita launched a landmark solo album ‘22 Strings’ in 2015 and was immediately met with a blaze of 4-star reviews from critics around the globe and a national UK tour. ’22 Strings’ was co-produced by Seckou Keita, Theatr Mwldan and ARC Music.
Variously described as a 'griot (praise singer), composer, djembe master, virtuoso and pioneer', Seckou is a rare type of musician, seated in tradition whilst constantly pushing the boundaries of his art. A true master of the kora - a 22 stringed West African harp - Seckou, from the Casamance area of Southern Senegal, was a childhood prodigy, born of a line of griots and kings. Cissokho, his mother’s family name, gave life to his talent; Keita, his father’s, gave him royal blood. Seckou has graced the international stage since 1996, earning worldwide acclaim for his kora playing and appearing with a host of fellow artists including Salif Keita, Yossou N’Dour, Miriam Makeba and Neil Finn.
Songlines Editor, Jo Frost, has this to say about Seckou Keita:
‘I'm delighted that Seckou is the winner of our Africa & Middle East category this year. He's a hugely popular artist and this is a much-deserved win for 22 Strings, his supremely graceful and highly personal album of solo kora music." Jo Frost, Editor, Songlines
We couldn’t agree more. Congratulations Seckou!