Derek Gripper - from African kora to guitar

Derek Gripper, South African guitarist
Derek Gripper, South African guitarist
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String Jam Club starts its 20th anniversary year celebrations with an extraordinary concert, featuring a supremely innovative and gifted guitarist.

South African, Derek Gripper who is fast becoming one of the most celebrated guitarists on the planet, will play at the County Hotel, Selkirk, on January 21.

Grammy Award winner John Williams (possibly one of the greatest guitar players of all time) has said that what Gripper does is ”absolutely impossible!” and is one of the most interesting things he has heard on guitar in 20 years. They have even shared the stage together in sold out shows around the world.

Derek will be playing a solo show of dazzling musical beauty to take your breath away. He has scaled musical Everest by doing something no one has ever even considered attempting, and with incredible results.

Obsessed by the African traditional instrument, the kora - a West African lute made out of cowhide – and consumed by heritage music from around the African continent, he has managed not only to arrange these traditional songs for the acoustic guitar, but has brought with it the intensity, subtleties and authenticity of the cultures that gave this music its birth.

The 38-year-old started playing the violin aged six, then wound up with one of the few classical-guitar professors in his native South Africa.

Then in a life-changing moment, he heard a record by the legendary Malian kora player Toumani Diabate and decided that this is what he was destined to do: not play the kora itself, but to play kora music on the guitar.

Derek Gripper will thrill the String Jam Club audience as the first major event of its 20th year anniversary. The club’s ethos has always been that “magic happens in small spaces” and over its long and successful career, audiences have travelled from far and wide to witness world-class musicians.

Derek Gripper is no exception, and he will undoubtedly cast a spell with the passion of his live performance and his incredible talent.

Tickets £13, available from 01750-721233 or online via Eventbrite.

Performance begins at 7.30pm.