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Clychau Dibon

By Catrin Finch & Seckou Keita

This latest instalment of "Soundtracks to our Life' was recommended by our good friend, Nick Heasman. It's an intriguing Welsh/West African collaboration that really works. Catrin Finch is a celebrated harpist who is best-known for her classical playing but has also worked with the Colombian band Cimarrón and Malian kora virtuoso Toumani Diabaté, while Seckou Keita was born into a griot family in Senegal, now lives in Nottingham, and is the most inventive British-based exponent of the kora, the West African harp. In the past, he has matched African themes against Cuban and flamenco influences, and shown how the kora can be used to play jazz-funk, but this new set of instrumental duets is his most satisfying work to date. The interaction between the two players is remarkable, with the melody lines constantly switching between the kora and harp, as sturdy African themes are mixed with Welsh melodies, and they switch between tranquil, hypnotic passages and more rapid-fire improvisations. An elegant, gently exquisite set. . .

Review by Robin Denselow

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