Seckou Keita

Award: MOBO Help Musicians Fund

Year: 2020

Genre: African Music

Instrument/voice type: Kora

Location: East Midlands


Seckou Keita is the UK's best known and most celebrated West African musician. A Kora player and griot from Senegal, Seckou is a childhood prodigy born to a musical lineage that supported his development and saw him become one of the worlds most respected purveyors of his craft.

He moved to the UK in 1996 and started a series of multi cultural collaborations that would shape most of his career. He released his debut album in 2000 with Arc music and began a prodigious and ground breaking career that would see him expand and break many World Music and Folk boundaries including 400 concerts in 30 countries with his band SKQ, several no.1's in the world music charts and a partnership with the Red Cross.

His global profile has grown significantly in the past 7 years, building on the success of his award winning albums, 22 Strings (Songlines Best Album 2016 ) and Clychau Dibon (Songlines Best Cross Cultural Collaboration 2014, Album of the Year fRoots 2013. And in 2019, he won amongst others the BBC Radio 2 Folk Award for best musician of the year and best collaboration.

His groundbreaking collaborations with Catrin Finch and subsequently Cuban pianist Omar Sosa, provided worldwide album releases and international tour that garnered critical and popular acclaim. His invitation to the Africa Express project with the Orchestra of Syrian Musicians, Damon Albarn, Paul Weller and Bassekou Kouyate illustrated how innovative, inspiring and groundbreaking Seckou's relentless creative ambition really is. His most recent collaborations include the beautiful folk musical project inspired by the book The Lost Words by Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris and the jazz/world Aka Trio album.
With the newest fragility of the live sector, Seckou will use this as an opportunity to research a new model and test a way to become ‘digitally self sufficient’. This will allow him to continue to create music of the greatest quality and to engage online audiences. Support from The MOBO Help Musicians Fund will be used toward the release of a new single exclusively online.