Derek Gripper:
South African Guitar Virtuoso

Thursday April 25th, Joe Henderson Lab, SF JAZZ

7pm Concert

8:30pm Concert

NEARLY SOLD OUT

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

Thursday April 25th, San Francisco

Joe Henderson Lab, SFJAZZ Center

7pm & 8:30pm

Concert Details

Location

Joe Henderson Lab, SFJAZZ

201 Franklin St, San Francisco, CA 94102, United States

Time
(April 25th: Thursday) 7pm & 8:30pm

Cost
$30

About

A celebrated musical explorer known for founding genre-mashing ensembles, South African guitarist Derek Gripper has taken his well-traveled instrument into previously unimagined realms. In his Bay Area return to commemorate the 30th Anniversary of Freedom Day, he’s playing solo acoustic guitar, focusing on his extraordinary original compositions and transcriptions of music by West Africa’s greatest masters of the 21-string kora, particularly Mali’s Toumani Diabaté and Ballaké Sissoko.

 

A harp-lute made from a skin-covered calabash with a hardwood neck, the kora can provide bass lines and harmonic accompaniment while simultaneously allowing an adept player to improvise flowing melodies. Translating this intricate music onto the guitar, Gripper introduced this strikingly beautiful body of music on the 2012 album One Night on Earth: Music from the Strings of Mali. He expanded the repertoire on 2016’s acclaimed Libraries on Fire (both on New Cape Records), which covers three generations of kora masters. In recent months, he’s also been exploring the overt and submerged links between Bach and contemporary improvisation. Gripper brings his singular sound to the Bay Area with a solo recital that can take on orchestral dimensions.

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

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

The Slave Church

40 Long St, Cape Town
24th February 2024 @ 7pm

Location

Robinson Theater
2903 Q St
Richmond, VA 23223

Time
(Nov 30th: Thursday) 7pm – 8:20pm

Cost
$30 EARLY BIRD TICKETS (Save $15)

All tickets are general admission.

Thank you for your interest in Derek’s concert! Due to the logistics of the event, we kindly ask that you double-check your preferred date before purchasing tickets, as we won’t be able to accommodate date changes once a purchase is made. We appreciate your understanding and cooperation.

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