Derek Gripper
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Derek Gripper
South African Guitar Virtuoso

Derek Gripper

MAR 14–17 | STRINGS AROUND THE WORLD

Mar 14
Joe Henderson Lab

A celebrated musical explorer known for founding genre-mashing ensembles, South African guitarist Derek Gripper has taken his well-traveled instrument into previously unimagined realms. In his Bay Area debut he’s playing his specially built eight-string acoustic guitar with changeable fretboards, focusing on his extraordinary transcriptions of music by West Africa’s greatest masters of the 21-string kora, particularly Mali’s Toumani Diabaté and Ballaké Sissoko.

A harp-lute made from a skin-covered calabash with a hardwood neck, the kora can provide bass lines and harmonic accompaniment while simultaneously allowing an adept player to improvise flowing melodies. Translating this intricate music onto the guitar, Gripper introduced this strikingly beautiful body of music on the 2012 album One Night on Earth: Music from the Strings of Mali. He expanded the repertoire on 2016’s acclaimed Libraries on Fire (both on New Cape Records), which covers three generations of kora masters. In recent months, he’s also been exploring the overt and submerged links between Bach and contemporary improvisation. 

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Gripper brings his singular sound to the Bay Area for the first time with a solo recital that can take on orchestral dimensions.

As impressive a display of daunting technique and irrepressible individuality as it was an immersion in celestially kaleidoscopic glimmers and ripples.

New York Music Daily

As impressive a display of daunting technique and irrepressible individuality as it was an immersion in celestially kaleidoscopic glimmers and ripples.

New York Music Daily

Personnel

Derek Gripper guitar

[He is] opening a whole new repertoire of classical guitar music.

Evening Standard

Personnel

Derek Gripper guitar

[He is] opening a whole new repertoire of classical guitar music.

Evening Standard

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Derek Gripper

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Derek Gripper

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Derek Gripper

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Derek Gripper

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