Posts Tagged ‘derek gripper’
Derek Gripper’s visionary reconceptions of the rich traditions of West African kora music on classical guitar are second to none, and showcase his extraordinary technical ability. Libraries on Fire is one of Songlines’ Best Albums of 2016.
Read more about him and his instrument in the current issue (January/February 2017, #124), where he talks guitars with Simon Broughton on p87.
Songlines’ editors Jo Frost and Simon Broughton select their favourite albums of 2016
Jo Frost and Simon Broughton have handpicked their ten favourite albums of the year from over 700 featured reviews. These are the albums they found themselves returning to over and over, and the discs that made a lasting impression. Here are their choices for year’s greatest albums, but be sure to pick up a copy of the new issue (January/February 2017, #124), on sale December 9, for a full rundown.
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Anda Union – Homeland
(Hohhot Records, will be reviewed in #124)
These are distinguished songs about nature, history and identity from this nine-strong Inner Mongolian group, featuring horse head fiddles and growly throat singing.
Bollywood Brass Band & Jyotsna Srikanth – Carnatic Connection
(Bollywood Brass Band, will be reviewed in #124)
An energetic and cinematic journey south, with fuel provided by Jyotsna Srikanth’s Karnatic violin. Renditions of AR Rahman compositions appear alongside South Indian musical gems.
Calypso Rose – Far from Home
(Because Music, reviewed in #120)
With the help of Manu Chao, the Calypso queen represents her home country of Trinidad and Tobago, covering a range of social and political issues with a contemporary Caribbean flair.
Roberto Fonseca – ABUC
(Impulse!, reviewed in #123)
A raucous, dizzying journey back and forth through Fonseca’s Afro-Cuban musical heritage. An ambitious and convincing offering from the young maestro.
Derek Gripper – Libraries on Fire
(Derek Gripper, reviewed in #119)
With great aplomb, the South African takes on the compositions of the great 21-stringed kora players on his classical guitar. Gripper’s delicate transcriptions deliver beautiful results.
Kefaya – Radio International
(Radio International Records, reviewed in #122)
This debut album fizzes with the energy of the international collective’s acclaimed live shows and is hard hitting with its political commentary.
Lakou Mizik – Wa Di Yo
(Cumbancha, reviewed in #117)
Lakou Mizik’s debut is a passionate tribute to the people and culture of Haiti. Formed in the aftermath of the country’s 2010 earthquake, the collective deliver a project of celebration and hope.
Leyla McCalla – A Day for the Hunter, A Day for the Prey
(Jazz Village, reviewed in #119)
An outstanding sophomore album from the young cellist and banjo player. Three years on from her stellar debut, McCalla once again draws from her Haitian heritage and Creole influences.
Vaudou Game – Kidayú
(Hot Casa Records, reviewed in #122)
Vaudou Game take a magpie-like approach to African music styles, uniquely blending Afrobeat, Ethio-jazz and highlife for an album that is unpredictable and fresh from start to finish.
Various Artists, featuring Musicians of the Calais ‘Jungle’ – The Calais Sessions
(Sessions of the World, will be reviewed in #124)
An extraordinarily and moving collaborative album. The resilient testament to the human spirit will reduce you to tears, but also uplift your heart.
Today, Mali remains a wellspring of extraordinary music and culture. Here is our essential guide to Malian music, including revealing articles about leading musicians, from Ali Farka Touré to Songhoy Blues and Toumani Diabaté, and videos of exciting live performances. But we begin with an overview of the key artists and albums…
After much deliberation, we are proud to present the top 25 albums to come from Mali, reminding us that there is an endless amount to celebrate in its music.
Read the article: ‘Top 25 Mali albums’
Songhoy Blues won the Newcomer category in the Songlines Music Awards 2016. Hailed last year as ‘Mali’s Next Big Thing’, the young band have continued to ride on a much-deserved wave of success.
Read the article: ‘Songhoy Blues: Songhai Stars’
Recorded shortly before his death in 2006, Ali Farka Touré’s Savane took him to new heights of critical acclaim. “Absolutely perfect – a truly great piece of work,” was the judgement of Ry Cooder and it’s impossible to find a single voice raised in disagreement.
Read the article: ‘Ali Farka Touré: a beginner’s guide’
The South African guitarist Derek Gripper is intent on bringing new audiences to Mali’s kora repertoire. Simon Broughton talks to him, on his first visit to the country to meet the instrument’s most famous player.
Read the article: ‘Derek Gripper: kora quest’
Is it possible for any article about Amadou & Mariam not to include the words ‘blind married couple’ in the opening sentence? There, I’ve just gone and done it again. It is an odd kind of badging when we’re talking about musical communication that, after all, engages our ears rather than our eyes. As Mariam puts it, “People know we are blind, but it is our work that counts”.
Read the article: ‘Amadou & Mariam: a beginner’s guide’
The young Touareg band are striking out from under Tinariwen’s shadow and doing their own thing. Andy Morgan reports…
Read the article: ‘Introducing… Imarhan’
Nigel Williamson speaks to the Malian singer about her career, which has been dedicated to offering African women a voice and correcting gender inequalities.
Read the article: ‘Oumou Sangaré: a beginner’s guide’
The kora has become almost synonymous with the music of Mali. Nigel Williamson examines the career of its chief exponent Toumani Diabaté
Read the article: ‘Toumani Diabaté: a beginner’s guide’
Words by Nigel Williamson
Del Boy’s six strings take on a kora’s 21
Since Songlines first championed the South African guitarist Derek Gripper following his 2012 album One Night on Earth, his transpositions of kora works by Toumani Diabaté, Ali Farka Touré and others for solo acoustic guitar have received widespread acclaim. The classical guitar legend John Williams said he thought that it was ‘absolutely impossible… until I heard Derek Gripper do it’ and Toumani himself was impressed enough to invite the guitarist to collaborate with him in Mali. This follow-up album, taking its title from a celebrated West African saying that ‘when a griot dies it’s like a library burning,’ transposes nine more kora pieces – seven of them from Toumani’s repertoire.
The results are once again spectacular, both in terms of technical brilliance and dreamy musicality. He also adds compositions by Ballaké Sissoko and Amadou Bansang Jobarteh to his project, to create an African repertoire for the classical guitar and it’s highly instructive to play his takes of these tunes alongside the original kora versions. On ‘Lampedusa’, for example, first heard on the 2014 album Toumani & Sidiki, it sounds like Gripper doesn’t miss a single note, despite having only six strings at his command against the 42 mustered by Diabaté père et fils. Breathtakingly wonderful.