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Biography

In his latest recording “One Night on Earth: Music from the Strings of Mali”, Derek Gripper has arranged and performed on classical guitar the compositions of legendary Malian musicians Toumani Diabaté, Ali Farka Touré and Ballaké Sissoke. The extraordinary feat of this recording can only be imagined when one considers that this music was originally composed for and played on the kora, a 21 string African harp-lute, one of Africa’s most beautiful of instruments. UK’s top world music publication Songlines Magazine called the album ”a staggering achievement,” selecting the recording as a Top of the World album in March 2013.

But Gripper’s output extends beyond Africa to include original compositions, interpretations of the works of Brazilian composer Egberto Gismonti, collaborations with classical Indian tabla, innovation of South African folk sounds, and arrangements of J.S.Bach’s solo violin works. Classical Guitar Magazine called Gripper’s 2011 recording of original compositions set alongside the works of Gismonti “an excellent album…of hypnotic beauty” whilst Guitar International says of the same album that Gripper’s world class ability “is able to transcend the instrument itself.”

Always on the move to develop new directions for the guitar, Gripper is now engaged in a conversation, part improvisation, interpretation and composition, between the diverse styles of music that have informed his music to date.

“astounding…it’s hard to imagine a more impressive and passionate rendering of Malian music on classical guitar.”

“…a staggering achievement.”

”….an excellent album…that leaves you feeling a little more than human, a little better than human.”

“Gripper is able to transcend the instrument with his performances…” Guitar International

“a gentle masterpiece.” The Times UK

“an open-minded fusion of classical and indigenous.” Art South Africa

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