Guitar Brisbane presents Derek Gripper; South African classical guitarist. Derek’s concerts explore the dialogue between the disparate styles that have informed his work to date: Kora, Bach, South African jazz, Contemporary Classical and large scale improvisations. Quotations of Bach, Malian songs, virtuosic kora compositions, Southern African bow music, and avant-garde Brazilian guitar music combine to create a new solo guitar which is at once intimate and explosive, improvised and composed, traditional and new.
About Derek Gripper
Derek Gripper is a classical guitarist who has taken a unique path. As a South African classical musician he found limited by the music of the traditional classical guitar and so went on a journey through different musical styles, returning always to the guitar to find ways of bringing what he learned onto the instrument.
His studies took him to India where he learned the rudiments of the Carnatic percussion language, and then to the farms of the Western Cape where he created an “avant-ghoema” string quartet language (Sagtevlei 2001) with South African composer and trumpeter Alex van Heerden. He then began to explore the limits of the classical guitar’s sonority, first on eight string guitar evocations of Cape Town folk music (Blomdoorns 2003), then in compositions on a guitar by legendary luthier Hermann Hauser (Ayo 2008, Kai Kai 2009) and then in transcriptions by Brazilian composer Egberto Gismonti (The Sound of Water 2012) whose solo guitar works are an explosive rewriting of classical guitar, world music, jazz and contemporary classical. The album combines Gismonti’s music with Derek’s own compositions.
In 2012 he completed a ten year project to understand and translate the music of the West African kora (21 string harp) virtuoso Toumani Diabate to solo guitar, resulting in two critically acclaimed albums, One Night on Earth (Songlines Top of the World) and Libraries on Fire, the latter receiving a Songlines award for “Best Album Africa and Middle East” in 2017. The recognition from these albums resulted in concert tours the world over, performances at venues such as Carnegie Hall, and collaborations with classical guitar legend John Williams, Indian guitar master Debashish Battacharya, and West African Musicians such as Trio da Kali and Toumani Diabate himself.
In 2017 Derek returned to the studio and to his musical roots to record an album of the solo violin works of Bach, arranged on solo guitar and delivered with the phraseology and fire of a musician who has steeped himself in musics outside of the classical canon.
Tickets available soon.