As EFEx ‘s International Partner for 2018, Wales threw a spectacular afternoon concert, complete with a lavish lunch within the capacious Great Northern Warehouse in Manchester. The bill was rich with varied sounds; of acoustic power trio Alaw, the atmospheric folk of 9Bach, the poetry to music of Gwyneth Glynn, and the mesmerizing duo of Catrin Finch and Seckou Keita. This video is from the latter’s much anticipated set.
(Folks who follow my videos know that my video of Catrin and Seckou from years back entitled “Two Harps That Beat as One” is massively popular -and deservedly so- hence the headline here.)
The sound of kora and concert harp combined is so beautiful that almost anything that Catrin and Seckou play will seduce the ear. Throughout their performances both of these artists consistently display a focused communication, and a sense of pleasure in their musical partnership. But I was very happy indeed when I reviewed my footage from the showcase and found this very playful piece, because in this instance, they are actually having a lot of fun, and it shows.
The song “1677” is a reference to the year of the French invasion of Gorée Island, long a hub of the slave trade in West Africa. (The song can be heard on their album SOAR.) Due to time constraints at the performance, the first part of the song, which has a somber mood, was not played, and the artists took up the piece at midpoint instead, at a place where the work starts to express the possibility of healing through musical interaction. Thus a serious, darker piece was presented in a much more light-hearted manner. Seckou, who wrote the piece says “1677” is kind of blues sounding, and dancy but also dark. That sound going back and forth between us, made me think about the rocking of a boat, about the people who could only express themselves through music, even over the waves.”
And express themselves they did. Before long the audience got caught up in the repartee between the musicians, and when the piece ended, everyone was still wanting more.
That’s the best way to “leave ‘em” as the adage goes. Enjoy. And happy holiday. There are some good things in the world.
For more information about the duo, visit: https://www.catrinfinchandseckoukeita.com/