South African Guitar Virtuoso Derek Gripper Coming February 1


South African classical guitarist Derek Gripper will be performing at the Kahilu Theatre Friday, February 1, 2019, at 7 PM. Ticket info below.

As a South African classical musician, Derek Gripper felt limited by the music of the traditional classical guitar and thus began his journey through different musical styles, returning always to the guitar seeking to find ways of transforming what he learned onto the instrument.  In 2012 Derek completed a ten-year project to understand and translate the music of the West African kora (21-string harp) virtuoso Toumani Diabate to solo guitar, resulting in two critically acclaimed albums, one of which took the award for “Best Album Africa and Middle East” in 2017. The recognition from these albums resulted in concert tours the world over, performances at venues such as Carnegie Hall, and collaborations with classical guitar legend John Williams, Indian guitar master Debashish Battacharya, and West African Musicians such as Trio da Kali and Toumani Diabate himself.

Derek ‘s 2018/2019 concerts explore the dialogue between the disparate styles that have informed his work to date: Kora, Bach, South African jazz, Contemporary Classical and large-scale improvisations. Quotations of Bach, Malian songs, virtuosic kora compositions, Southern African bow music, and avant-garde Brazilian guitar music combine to create a new solo guitar that is at once intimate and explosive, improvised and composed, traditional and new.

In these solo concerts, sometimes a continuous hour or more of uninterrupted music, the guitar is explored in all its possibilities, delivered with the phraseology and fire of a musician who has steeped himself in music outside of the classical canon. Even the tuning and retuning becomes part of the instrument’s musical resources, converting it from moment to moment to new tonalities and resonances as the music finds the common ground between Derek’s diverse interests and abilities.

This kind of extended improvisation and re-composition of such diverse repertoire is rarely seen in the world of classical guitar and presents a new possibility for African Guitar and a new expression of the music of Great African Composers.

If You Go

What:   Derek Gripper in concert
When: February 1, 2019
Where: Kahilu Theatre
Admission:  $65/$45/$25
Information: Tickets can be purchased at, (808) 885-6868 or at the Kahilu Theatre Box Office located at 67-1186 Lindsey Road.

Visit Derek Gripper’s official site:
Photo: Svend Withfelt


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