Derek Gripper:
Music from the Strings of Mali

“I hear truth, I hear meaning, I hear love and I hear hope. At times I am overcome with emotion.” 
- UK Vibe

Saturday Sept 23, New York

At the Tony Bennett Concert Hall

Frank Sinatra School of the Arts High School
35-12 35th Ave, Queens, NY

7:30pm – 8:45pm

About
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.

What others are saying....

What others are saying....

“Gripper has cracked it… his playing has a depthless beauty, which does full justice to the complexity of Toumani’s compositions. To do so without any hint of the music being dumbed down is a staggering achievement on solo guitar.”

— NIGEL WILLIAMSON, SONGLINES MAGAZINE

 

“Gripper has cracked it… his playing has a depthless beauty, which does full justice to the complexity of Toumani’s compositions. To do so without any hint of the music being dumbed down is a staggering achievement on solo guitar.”

— NIGEL WILLIAMSON, SONGLINES MAGAZINE

 

“More than a labour of love, Gripper has brought a new purity to the dream-like improvisatory nature of these compositions. My recording of the year, so far!”

— TIM PANTING, CLASSICAL GUITAR MAGAZINE

 

“More than a labour of love, Gripper has brought a new purity to the dream-like improvisatory nature of these compositions. My recording of the year, so far!”

— TIM PANTING, CLASSICAL GUITAR MAGAZINE

 

“The result is astounding, not just for its technical brilliance, but its musicality. Gripper executes these pieces with the precision and attention to detail one might expect from a great classical musician… It’s hard to imagine a more impressive and passionate rendering of Malian music on classical guitar.”

— BANNING EYRE, AFROPOP WORLDWIDE

“The result is astounding, not just for its technical brilliance, but its musicality. Gripper executes these pieces with the precision and attention to detail one might expect from a great classical musician… It’s hard to imagine a more impressive and passionate rendering of Malian music on classical guitar.”

— BANNING EYRE, AFROPOP WORLDWIDE

$1.50 of every ticket is donated to Bridges for Music

Bridges for Music has been empowering young talent from under-served communities in South Africa since 2013. 

Bridges for Music is a non profit organisation focused on empowering young talent from under-served communities to become creative change-makers, providing 21st century- tools and equipping them with the psychosocial and entrepreneurial skills to thrive in the creative industries.

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Location
Balmain Town Hall, 370 Darling St, Balmain NSW 2041
Time
(Saturday) 7:30pm - 8:30pm

Australian Tour

Location
Woodville Town Hall, 74/76 Woodville Rd, Woodville South SA 5011, Australia
Time
(Friday) 7pm – 8:20pm
Location
Woodville Town Hall, 74/76 Woodville Rd, Woodville South SA 5011, Australia
Time
(Saturday) 7pm – 8:20pm
Location
Geelong West Town Hall
153 Pakington St, Geelong West VIC 3218
Time
(Monday) 7pm – 8:20pm
Location
Mount Eliza Community Hall
90-100 Canadian Bay Rd,
Mount Eliza, VIC 3930
Time
(Jan 23rd: Tuesday) 7pm – 8:20pm
Location
Malmsbury Town Hall
91 Mollison St,
Malmsbury VIC 3446
Time
(Jan 24th: Wednesday) 7pm – 8:20pm
Location
Rowville Performing Arts Centre, Humphreys Way, Rowville VIC 3178
Time
(Thursday) 7pm – 8:20pm
Location
Collingwood Town Hall,
140 Hoddle St, Abbotsford VIC 3067
Time
(Saturday) 7pm – 8:20pm
Location
Marrickville Town Hall
303 Marrickville Rd,
Marrickville NSW 2204
Time
(Monday) 7pm – 8:20pm
Location
Marrickville Town Hall
303 Marrickville Rd,
Marrickville NSW 2204
Time
(Tuesday) 7pm – 8:20pm
Location
Marrickville Town Hall
303 Marrickville Rd,
Marrickville NSW 2204
Time
(Wednesday) 7pm – 8:20pm
Location
Sandgate Town Hall
Cliff and Seymour St
Sandgate, QLD 4017
Time
(Friday) 7pm – 8:20pm
Location
Sandgate Town Hall
Cliff and Seymour St
Sandgate, QLD 4017
Time
(Friday) 9pm – 10:20pm
Location
Broadbeach Cultural Centre
Hooker Blvd &, Sunshine Blvd,
Broadbeach Waters QLD 4218
Time
(Saturday) 7pm – 8:20pm
Location
James Fairfax Theatre
National Gallery of Australia
Parkes Pl E, Parkes ACT 2600
Time
(Monday) 7pm – 8:20pm
Location
James Fairfax Theatre
National Gallery of Australia
Parkes Pl E, Parkes ACT 2600
Time
(Tuesday) 7pm – 8:20pm
Location
Joy Shepherd Performing Arts Centre, 26 Bay View Terrace
Mosman Park WA 6012
Time
(Thursday) 7pm – 8:20pm
Location
Albany Town Hall, 217 York St, Albany WA 6330
Time
(Tuesday) 7pm – 8:20pm
Location
South West Italian Club, 13 White St, East Bunbury WA 6230
Time
(Wednesday) 7pm – 8:20pm
Location
Armadale District Hall, Cnr Jull Street & Church Avenue, Armadale WA 6112
Time
(Thursday) 7pm – 8:20pm