Derek Gripper is a South-African guitar player who studies and practices different musical repertoires as classical, Carnatic music, kora music, South African jazz, contemporary classical and large scale improvisations.
Among other personal works, he uses to transcribe note-for-note the complex compositions of Malian kora player Toumani Diabaté and find a way of playing them on classical six-string guitar.
Classical guitar legend John Williams said he thought it was “absolutely impossible until I heard Derek Gripper do it”. Toumani Diabaté himself asked for confirmation that it was indeed just one person playing one guitar.
He does extraordinary transcriptions of music by West Africa’s greatest masters of the 21-string kora, particularly Mali’s Toumani Diabaté and Ballaké Sissoko.
"Of course, the kora has 21 strings, each tuned to a fixed note. The nylon-stringed guitar Gripper plays has six. But by using unusual tunings and fretting the strings up and down the neck with his left hand, he can pretty much hit all of the kora's notes..." Tom Cole - NPR music
”...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
Really AMAZING !!
and don't miss to listen, among others, the original sound installation for the Venice Bienale, inspired by kora: "Cassette Locale: After Masanobu Fukuoka"
thanks to my friend Cello to make me discover this superb artist