“A New African String Theory” 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.
“A New African String Theory” 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 incredibly compelling.

Derek Gripper NPR Music