A month today at the Snape Proms… Catrin Finch and Seckou Keita
I love the sound of the kora. The African harp was one of the first sounds heard at the opening weekend party of the Britten Studio (was it really five years ago?) and its soulful, stirring strains remain with me even now – it was an implacably tranquil, very `other’ way to open a new building, an exotic, other-worldly music that sang of wide open spaces and timeless tradition.
The Celtic tradition is no less evocative of course and former Royal Harpist to the Prince of Wales Catrin Finch teams up with Seckou Keita in a magical collaboration that somehow captures the essence of both worlds. The album’s a delight, these string sparring partners trading riffs, blending beautifully and absorbing each other’s musical heritage simply, seamlessly, the steely, slightly metallic sound of the kora offsetting the gentler, rounder sounds of the concert harp. Lest you think it’s all ethereal floatiness, there’s grit and harder edges here too, and I’m amazed at how both players – seemingly intuitively bound to each other – find such vitality and buoyant springing dance rhythms from their instruments.
It’s a gorgeous summer evening as I write this and I’m going to get my daily fix of this luminous, intricate, constantly shifting music in the car on the way home… I can’t imagine anything better attuned to the weather, or my mood…