The Inimitable Seckou Keita SKQ Return With Eagerly Anticipated New Album & Exciting UK Tour!

‘The Silimbo Passage’ will be released on 2nd June 2008

With a massively successful touring history and critically acclaimed album under their belt, the Seckou Keita SKQ are proud to announce the release of their new studio album ‘The Silimbo Passage’, alongside an eagerly anticipated extensive UK tour, kicking off in May. The tour showcases part of the ongoing evolution of their unique sound that derives from the group’s heart – Seckou Keita himself.

The Seckou Keita SKQ are one of the fastest growing, independent bands du jour, captivating audiences from Montreal to Manchester, Sweden to Senegal. Their forthcoming album is already garnering international attention as the band has received an ‘Honourable Mention’ in the Instrumental category after being nominated as one of 15 finalists worldwide at the International Songwriting Competition. The Seckou Keita SKQ possess a unique ability to touch every one who experiences their sound, making it easy to see how they are amassing fans worldwide with their captivating, contemporary music.

Hailing from Senegal, Italy, Egypt and The Gambia, this multi-national band are an exciting fusion of culture and experience. Counting Richard Bona, Bela Fleck and Bobby McFerrin amongst his influences, Seckou Keita leads the quartet with his experimental tunings and virtuoso kora playing (a West African stringed instrument likened to the harp or the lute). His charismatic personality is portrayed through his unique improvisational playing, supported by the double bass/electric bass of Davide Mantovani, the eclectic percussions of Surahata Susso, the distinguished sound of the violin by Samy Bishai and enchanting voice of the gracious Binta Susso – the newest addition to the band, turning the quartet into a quintet!

Distinguishing Seckou Keita from other world musicians, is his very own inimitable tunings, making him one of the most innovative and creative known kora players in the world today. These new tunings are showcased on SKQ’s latest album ‘The Silimbo Passage’, which creates a fresh sound and shifts SKQ into a music category all of their own.

Championing ‘eco-friendliness’ through CO2 Balance UK, SKQ are minimising their carbon emissions and offsetting their unavoidable CO2 residue by produced all their material on recycled paper or paper from sustained forests. By offsetting emissions the band have been able to donate money towards East Africa Energy Efficiency and contribute to tree planting in the UK.

With continuing funding from Arts Council England, the band have added a number of key dates to their tour, including a eagerly anticipated support slot to the Grammy-award winning Miriam Makeba, favourably known as ‘Mama Africa’ at the Brighton Festival which celebrates her 75th birthday! Other exciting dates include the Guardian Hay Festival, and London’s revered Jazz Cafe, as well as planned gigs in Italy and Japan later this year.

For more information please contact Sara Boughton or Jem Bahaijoub
Zest PR
Tel.0044 (0)20 7734 0206

Live Dates:
19 May 2008 – Album and Tour Launch at Momo, London
21 May 2008 – Brighton Festival, Support of Miriam Makeba (
22 May 2008 – Brighton Festival, Lunch Concert (
23 May 2008 – Acorn Theatre, Penzance (
27 May 2008 – Guardian Hay Festival (
28 May 2008 – Queens Hall, Edinburgh (
29 May 2008 – Tolbooth, Stirling (
3 Jun 2008 – Invention Arts Centre, Bath (
4 Jun 2008 – B-Bar, Barbican Centre, Plymouth (
5 Jun 2008 – The Brewhouse, Taunton (
6 Jun 2008 – Derby Assembly Rooms, Derbyshire (
11 Jun 2008 – Jazz Cafe, London (
12 Jun 2008 – Huntingdon Hall, Worcester (
13 Jun 2008 – Royal Pavilion, Llangollen, Wales (
14 Jun 2008 – Lift Global Club, Glossop (
19 Jun 2008 Norwich Arts Centre, East Anglia (
20 Jun 2008 – Asthall Manor, Big Village Production, Oxfordshire (
21 June 2008 – Peel Centenary Centre, Isle Of Man (

Notes to Editor:

Originally the Seckou Keita Quartet, the group are now called the Seckou Keita SKQ since the arrival of Binta Suso to the band making them a quintet!

The Seckou Keita SKQ helps to stay green with

The Seckou Keita SKQ consists of-

Seckou Keita
Seckou Keita was born in Ziguinchor, Senegal on 14 February 1978 in a griot family (hereditary musicians). It was under the guidance of his uncle Solo Cissokho that Keita launched his international career in 1996, with appearances at Norway’s Forde Festival in a successful collaboration with Cuban, Indian and Scandinavian musicians.
In the years that followed, Keita relocated to the UK, while touring regularly in Spain, France, Portugal, Greece and Czech Republic as well as playing at such prestigious festivals as Womad and Glastonbury, both as a solo musician, and in collaboration with acclaimed figures like Indian violinist Dr L Subrimaniam.
He became a member of the popular world music group Baka Beyond in 1998, contributing to their well-received East To West album, and in 2000 began to record his own solo debut Baiyo (retitled Mali for a later release through Arc Music), which encompassed his musical journey to that date, from Africa to Europe, via India.
With support slots to luminaries like Salif Keita and Youssou N’Dour, solo slots at London’s Jazz Café and at Ireland’s Sacred Music Festival, and a nomination in 2001 for BBC Radio 3’s prestigious World Music Award, it’s clear that Keita’s many collaborations have fed and extended rather than diluted the African mainspring of his music.
This is why Keita’s current project, the Seckou Keita SKQ seems so exciting, drawing together a group of musicians from disparate origins, who nonetheless superbly complement one another. The richly layered songs on Seckou Keita SKQ’s pasr Tama-Silo album range from the haunting African Soul of ‘Tounga’ to upbeat floor-fillers like ‘Sina Mory’ and ‘N’fa Quartet’. With over 100 live performances, their sound becomes incredibly tight and original.
A brilliant performer, Seckou also likes to share with people. His education work is less known to the public but is real. He regularly runs drumming and kora workshops in schools, arts centres, festivals working with organisations such as Music For change, Creative Partnerships and Womad.
Finally, he is also a regular guest leader for Sewabeat company who offers alternative training package for Commercial Corporations.

Binta Suso
Born in the Gambia in a griot family (hereditary musicians), Binta started singing at an early age. She toured the UK in 2003 and 2004 as part of Jalikunda Cissokho’s. Then she went on an international exchange programme to study at the Sund Folk in Norway.
She sang “Tounga” on Seckou Keita SKQ’s album. Her voice, which gives new rich colours to the band, attracted praises from press and media.
In early 2006 she returned to her native country and started working with various Gambian artists from traditional to hip hop style. She joined Seckou Keita SKQ in their 2006/07 Senegalese and Gambian’s tour.

Davide Mantovani
Double Bass/Electric bass
Born in Ferrara, Italy, Davide took up the bass in 1982, after early training on piano and guitar, and in 1991 relocated to London. He has since built a formidable reputation as both performer and composer. His own jazz quintet’s Square One album was issued in 2001, and an experimental collaboration with violinist Roberto Manes led to the release of Polaris in 2004. He has also been in demand as a composer of soundtracks and incidental music, with Drawing Horizons receiving a commercial release in 2002, and commissions from artists of the stature of Shobana Jeyasingh and George Eugene to his credit. He travelled to Senegal with Seckou Keita to study Mbalah rhythms in 2002, and his double bass has been a key component of the Quintet from the start.

Samy Bishai
Samy grew up in Alexandria, Egypt, and received a classical training on the violin. He began to play professionally at 18, working with Alexandria Chamber Orchestra while maintaining a lively interest in Arabic pop and jazz. In 2000 he moved to London, and has since forged a career as a live session player in fields as diverse as jazz, pop, electronica and hip-hop. He has recorded string arrangements for releases by artists like Terry Hall, Mushtaq, Lemar and Tyler James, and has also scored a short film, The Bridge. He joined the Seckou Keita SKQ in 2005, stepping into the shoes of Riti player Juldeh Camara, whose inspiration on his own distinctive sound within the group he is quick to acknowledge.

Surahata Susso
Sura is a young percussionist and kora player from The Gambia, a member of the well-known Susso griot family. He has been a member of Gambia’s acclaimed Kaira Youth Band for many years, and more recently branched out with his own Fisco Band. More recently, he has started working with askewandavis, a band that combines looping and vocal experimentation.
He was invited to join the Acoustic Vibes tour in 2004, and currently divides his time between The Seckou Keita SKQ’s work, to whose sound he brings a highly distinctive blend of African and Cuban percussion styles, and his own musical projects in The Gambia.