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Derek Gripper at the String Jam Club
January 21 @ 7:30 pm - 11:00 pm
Saturday 21st January 2017
Virtuoso guitarist plays African kora music of dazzling beauty & complexity
His name is Derek Gripper, he comes from South Africa and he is fast becoming one of the most celebrated guitarists on the planet. Grammy Award Winner (and possibly one of the greatest guitar players of all time), John Williams, has said that what Gripper does is ”absolutely impossible!” and is one of the most interesting things he has heard on guitar in 20 years. They have shared the stage together in sold out shows around the world.
Tonight Derek plays a solo show of dazzling musical beauty that will take your breath away. He has scaled musical Everest by doing something no one has ever even considered attempting, and with incredible results. Obsessed by the African traditional instrument, the kora – a 21-stringed West African lute made out of cow-hide – and consumed by heritage music around the African continent, he has managed not only to arrange these traditional songs for the acoustic guitar, but has brought with it the intensity, subtleties and authenticity of the cultures that gave this music its birth. For 15 years his passion for the kora, and in particular for the music of the great Malian player Toumani Diabaté, has driven him to achieve his “staggering achievement on solo guitar.” (Songlines)
His latest release ‘Libraries on Fire’ is an album’s worth of kora duets for solo guitar, essentially transposing somewhere between 44 and 46 strings onto six!
Far more importantly, through the act of transcribing this music, he has managed to record one of the most undocumented and vital musical histories on the planet for future generations to study, and in doing so he has made a genuine contribution to the world of music. For this alone, Gripper deserves serious credit.
But one of the most exciting things of all is to watch this incredible talent perform his heart out and show the world that he has something truly unique and powerful to offer. It is an intensely moving experience, the cascading melodies and rhythms a delight to listen to.
After a recent successful appearance at New York’s Carnegie Hall and en route to Celtic Connections where he will be on stage with Tommy Emmanuel, we are delighted to be welcoming him to String Jam Club. We urge you to come see him and experience the magic of his live performances, buy his albums and get his autograph while you still can!
“An astonishing guitarist” (MARK RADCLIFFE, BBC RADIO 2)
“Libraries on Fire is a masterclass in the sonic possibilities of the guitar” (10/10, RHYTHM PASSPORT)
“One of the most interesting things I’ve heard on guitar in twenty years” (JOHN WILLIAMS)
“Superlatives can pall, but this is an extraordinary album on many levels” (fROOTS)
“An incredible guitarist, so passionate about the music that it’s really infectious” (NITIN SAWHNEY)
“His playing has a depthless beauty, which does full justice to the complexity of Toumani’s compositions” (SONGLINES MAGAZINE)
“One of the most atmospheric recordings of guitar music, of any kind, that I have heard...” (CLASSICAL GUITAR MAGAZINE)
“Fascinating stuff whose by-product is a record of beauty” (CERYS MATTHEWS BBC 6 MUSIC)
“Bringing African guitar into the classical mainstream” (EVENING STANDARD)
4 stars **** FINANCIAL TIMES
Watch Derek Gripper performing Toumani Diabate’s ‘Jarabi’ at the launch of One Night on Earth at the Slave Church in Cape Town:
Tickets £13, available from the venue by phone 01750-721233 (card bookings incur 50p card transaction fee). Tickets will be reserved for collection on the night.
15% discount off hotel restaurant meals for String Jam Club ticket holders 6 – 7 pm (advance table reservation advised).
DOORS OPEN 7.30