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Derek Gripper

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Biography

Guitarist, violist, and composer Derek Gripper has forged a career blending classical music with African folk traditions. The Cape Town-based musician first came to prominence in 2001 with the ensemble Sagtevlei, a collaboration with jazz accordionist and trumpeter Alex van Heerden and a string quartet. The group's spare deconstructions of South African music became known stylistically as "New Cape," a vision Gripper continued to follow on his first solo guitar release a year later. Over the coming decade Gripper continued to push the boundaries of classical guitar both on his own and with other iterations of Sagtevlei. He released an inspired collaboration with Indian tabla master Udai Mazumdar and had one of his pieces adapted by acclaimed string ensemble the Kronos Quartet. Gripper's 2012 LP One Night on Earth launched a new phase of his career as he adapted the complex music of the kora (as 21-string African harp) for solo classical guitar. In 2015, he released a second collection of kora adaptations called Libraries on Fire. ~ Timothy Monger
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