Flying all the way from South Africa, Derek Gripper presents “Music from the Strings of Mali”, an unforgettable concert featuring a unique blend of West African rhythms, timeless Classical, and inspiring melodies from Toumani Diabaté, Arvo Pärt and Bach.
Gripper has gained international acclaim for his groundbreaking work in transcribing and recording some of the most intricate compositions of the kora, a 21-stringed West African harp, onto acoustic guitar. His groundbreaking technique of translating these sounds offer music lovers a unique immersive musical exploration that bridges continents and genres.
Gripper’s transformative journey began with the release of his first album, ‘One Night on Earth’, his initial venture into kora translations. The album drew praise from celebrated classical guitarist, John Williams, who proclaimed it “absolutely impossible until I heard Derek Gripper do it”, while kora maestro Toumani Diabaté asked for confirmation that it was indeed just one person playing.
Both invited Derek to collaborate with them: Derek performed with Williams in London’s Shakespeare’s Globe and King’s Place, and with Diabaté and his Symmetric Orchestra at the Acoustik Festival Bamako, Mali. His 2016 Carnegie Hall debut paired him with Mali’s Trio da Kali, and the UK’s Songlines honoured him with best album in Africa and the Middle East for his 2016 album “Libraries on Fire.”
Derek’s ground-breaking exploration continues through recent recordings such as ‘A Year of Swimming’, ‘Billy Goes to Durban’, and ‘Sleep Songs for My Daughter’, introducing original compositions and improvisations, each a testament to his dedication to evolving and challenging his musical style. Moreover, his Bach recordings have been a fascinating study in the symbiosis of African music and early European melodies, revealing an uncanny natural simplicity within their intricacies.
“Music from the Strings of Mali” promises a raw, authentic experience, a musical expedition that embodies the human spirit in its highs and lows, its mastery and its quest for learning. It’s about embracing the beauty of imperfection and transformation that makes music—and life—so compelling.