Ballake Sissoko &
Derek Gripper
A New African String Theory

June 14 @ 7pm in Durban

R250

SELLING FAST

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

Concert Details

Location

Playhouse Company – Drama Main, 231 Smith St,
Durban Central, Durban, Kwa Zulu Natal

Time
(June 14: Friday) 7pm

Cost
R250
About

Malian virtuoso Ballaké Sissoko has taken over the mantle of greatest touring virtuoso on the kora. Ballaké is a seminal improviser with an ability to unlock every possible nuance on the kora with subtleties rarely heard on any instrument.

Derek Gripper is a classical guitarist from South Africa whose love of the kora set him transcribing and recording some of the greatest works of the instrument and starting a twenty year career performing this music all over the world, changing the face of classical guitar and giving the instrument its very first African repertoire.

The two musicians met in 2022 in Paris for one show. They share no common verbal language yet managed to perform a unique show together of completely improvised music. They returned to the stage in London a month later, and then to the recording studio for a full-length album to be released in 2023. Their performances and recordings are all achieved without any verbal communication, just a mutual love of their shared repertoire and the possibilities of the plucked string.

Taking the griot practice of spontaneous variation to a new level Ballaké and Derek explore Mande music almost as Keith Jarrett explored jazz in his improvised solo piano concerts: unpremeditated listening, allowing music to flow freely between improvisation and quotation, taking off from a shared musical language, in their case not jazz, but Manding music

 

In collaboration with the Alliance Francais and Air France.

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

Derek Gripper: Music from the Strings of Mali

“One of the most interesting things I’ve heard on guitar in twenty years” – John Williams

About

“Music from the Strings of Mali” with Derek Gripper is not just a concert; it’s an immersive musical exploration that bridges continents and genres. As a globally renowned South African guitarist, Gripper has rewritten the narrative of classical guitar by infusing it with the captivating sounds of the West African kora.

Gripper’s transformative journey began with the release of “One Night on Earth,” his initial venture into kora translations. Celebrated classical guitarist John Williams proclaimed it seemed “absolutely impossible until I heard Derek Gripper do it,” leading to collaborations that transcended borders, from London’s Shakespeare’s Globe to Acoustik Festival Bamako, Mali. Even his debut at the revered Carnegie Hall saw Gripper performing alongside Mali’s Trio da Kali, an endorsement of his revolutionary approach to music.

His ground-breaking exploration didn’t stop there. Recent recordings like “A Year of Swimming,” “Billy Goes to Durban,” and “Sleep Songs for My Daughter” introduced 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.

Choose a performance

Click on the list below to expand

August 18, Durban

Location
Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre
Mazisi Kunene Rd, Durban, 4001
Time
(Friday) 7:30pm – 9pm
Location
Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre
Mazisi Kunene Rd, Durban, 4001
Time
(Friday) 7:30pm - 9pm