CEREDIGION harpist Catrin Finch and Seckou Keita’s second album SOAR has won the prestigious fRoots Critics Poll Album of the Year 2018.

This is the second win for the duo, whose debut album, Clychau Dibon, was awarded the fRoots Critics Poll Album of The Year back in 2013.

Previous winners of the award have included The Buena Vista Social Club, Youssou n’Dour, Bellowhead, Eliza Carthy, Stick in the Wheel, Sam Lee and Trio da Kali & Kronos Quartet.

“We’re just delighted. To have won this award twice is just incredible. We’ve had such a great response to the album this year. Just to be nominated was brilliant enough,” said Catrin.

“This is a wonderful surprise,” added Seckou, who also produced the album. “There are never any guarantees on how a second album will be received, so we had no expectations.”

The album was released on the bendigedig label in April 2018 and the duo have toured extensively since its release in the UK, France, Slovenia and Morocco, with their performances together now topping 130 concerts over the past five years.

This is the 33rd year of the fRoots annual awards, who since 1986 have polled experts in the UK and worldwide to find the Album Of The Year in the fields of music they champion. With hundreds of writers, broadcasters and activists on the panel, the fRoots Critics Poll For Albums Of The Year is long established as the most extensively researched and prestigious annual poll of its kind.

Catrin and Seckou’s live performances of the album in spring this year garnered 5* reviews from both the Guardian and The London Evening Standard and prompted Songlines Magazine’s Tim Cumming to describe them as ‘the most popular world music act of the decade’.

Iggy Pop described the album as “…bitchin” on Iggy Pop Confidential on BBC 6 MUSIC.

SOAR entered the UK Official Independent Album Charts at #16 on the first week of its release, and subsequently spent over three months at the top of the Amazon World Music charts, hitting the number one spot in the Transglobal World Music Charts in June 2018, and receiving a nomination for the Welsh Music Prize.

The album has also appeared in both MOJO’s and Songlines Top 10 Albums of 2018, and has come #3 overall in the World Music Charts Europe 2018 announced this week.

The winner was announced on BBC Radio 3's Music Planet, presented by Kathryn Tickell.

The duo will continue to tour throughout 2019, visit www.catrinfinchandseckoukeita.com for tour dates and to purchase the album as a CD or special limited-edition vinyl LP.

They will be performing at Cardigan’s Theatr Mwldan on January 29 in a double bill with Bassekou Kouyate and Ngoni Ba

Catrin and Seckou are produced and managed by Theatr Mwldan, Cardigan. SOAR is released on bendigedig, a label managed in common partnership between Theatr Mwldan and ARC Music Productions International Limited.