Yours truly got to know the Senegalese kora-player Seckou Keita thanks to his collaborative effort with Welsh harpist Catrin Finch and the ensuing 'Clychau Dibon' album from 2014. A fluke as it turns out, because initially it was kora grandmaster Toumani Diabate who had agreed to do the project. For '22 Strings' Seckou opted for a very different approach however. The album, recorded in Keita's basement studio at his home in Nottingham, is a solo performance in the most literal sense, as more than Keita's kora and voice ('If Only I Knew', 'Kana-Sila', 'Mande') you won't get to hear. About this very personal project, the Senegalese musician comments: "I've always wanted to do a solo album; a solo album that really means a solo album. On this album I wanted to bring the kora back to its own country, where it really sort of belongs. This is the solo album I was waiting for." Like almost everything on the African continent, the kora's history is also draped in legend. When centuries ago, griot Jali Mady Wuleng was strolling through the forest one day, he suddenly heard a heavenly sound. Wuleng decided to investigate and discovered a djinn playing a strange string instrument. Enchanted by the sounds he heard, the griot decided to capture the djinn and steal his instrument. Listening to the very intimate '22 Strings' it isn't hard to imagine how this legend came about. Originally the instrument counted 22 strings, after Wuleng's passing one was removed out of respect. Only in Senegal and Guinea Bissau the 22-string version is still used to this day. For Seckou Keita the extra string refers to his home, the place his heart resides.