Their performances of the album in spring 2018 garnered 5* reviews from both the Guardian and The London Evening Standard and prompted Songlines Magazine’s Tim Cumming to de-scribe them as “the most popular world music act of the decade”. SOAR takes wing on the flight of the osprey, the magnificent raptor persecuted to extinction in Wales during the 17th century, which has recently returned home after a 400-year absence. The osprey makes its annual 3000-mile migration from the estuaries of West Wales, where Catrin grew up, to Seckou’s homeland in Senegal, West Africa – an amazing natural connection which hit a resonance with the two artists.
Themes of migration – natural, enforced and economic – run throughout SOAR, drawing deep on the sometimes darker history of these two great musical nations. “Like the iconic raptor, it swoops and soars to capture the bird’s very es-sence,” says Dave Haslam, in his 5* review for RnR Magazine, “SOAR is as near to perfection as it is possible”. SOAR entered the UK Official Independent Album Charts at #16 on the first week of its release and spent over three months at the top of the Amazon World Music charts, reaching number one in the Transglobal World Music Charts in June 2018. The album received a nomination for the Welsh Music Prize, and has for the second time been shortlisted for the prestigious fRoots Critics Poll Album of The Year 2018, having previously received the award for their debut album Clychau Dibon in 2013.
Their music has been described by Elbow’s Guy Garvey as “absolutely hypnotic”, whilst revered British actor Toby Jones (Atomic Blonde, The Detectorists, Jurassic Park: Fallen Kingdom) says of Catrin and Seckou “incredible… you’re witnessing a state of rapture, it’s entrancing”. This is music with a huge emotional resonance and a remarkable synergy, a seemingly unlikely marriage between the cultures and of Wales and Senegal which has resulted in the most serendipitous of unions. Welsh traditional melodies mix effortlessly with Mandinka staples, with hypnotic improvisations from both in an exhilarating and playful set which leaps over cultural barriers, roaming freely in borderless musical territory. Beyond beautiful in concert Catrin and Seckou create a uniquely spellbinding and mesmerising experience that has been filling concert halls across the UK, Europe and beyond.
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