Derek Gripper in conversation with Banning Eyre
Wollman Hall, The New School
65 West 11th Street, 5th floor, New York, NY 10011
FREE, no tickets required
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The South African guitarist/composer Derek Gripper in conversation with author, guitarist, broadcaster Banning Eyre.  Eyre has spent years exploring the guitar styles of Africa, and is the author of four books, including In Griot Time: An American Guitarist in Mali. The conversation will cover issues from techniques and innovations to the ethics of appropriation. 

Hosted by the Center for Transformative Media at The New School, with Mannes College of Music.


About Derek Gripper:

South African guitarist Derek Gripper released his ninth album, One Night on Earth: Music from the Strings of Mali, late in 2012. Recorded at an all-night session the album magically conjures anew a centuries-old ancient African musical heritage, interpreting kora compositions (21 string harp) on solo guitar, a feat which classical guitar legend John Williams said he thought was “absolutely impossible until I heard Derek Gripper do it.” When Kora maestro Toumani Diabate heard these recordings he asked his producer Lucy Duran to confirm that she had actually seen one person play this music on just one guitar. He immediately invited Derek to collaborate with him in Mali, an invitation which saw Derek performing at the Acoustik Festival Bamako in early 2016, the first international festival held in Mali since 2012.

The UK’s top world music publication, Songlines, called One Night on Earth ”a staggering achievement,” and selected the recording as a Top of the World album in 2013. Derek’s “guitar has found the Kora-playing spirit, he captures the magic bound up in the way it is played”, says Williams, who invited Derek back a second time to collaborate in “The John Williams Series” at London’s Globe Theatre in June 2015 where the two musicians performed duets based on Diabate’s kora works.

Libraries on Fire, a new record of kora compositions has just been completed, exploring kora duets on solo guitar. The Kronos Quartet have also premiered one of Derek’s arrangements for string quartet, continuing Derek’s work to bring “African guitar into the classical mainstream.” (Evening Standard)  |


About Banning Eyre:

Banning Eyre writes and broadcasts about international music, especially contemporary African music. He has traveled to Africa many times, doing research in over a fifteen countries, and written three books on his research there, including the acclaimed In Griot Time: An American Guitarist in Mali (Temple University Press/Serpent’s Tail), and Guitar Atlas Africa (Workshop Arts), an instructional book on African guitar style, and now Lion Songs, Thomas Mapfumo and the Music that Made Zimbabwe (Duke University Press, 2015). Eyre reports on world music for NPR’s All Things Considered and has produced many one-hour programs for the Peabody Award-winning public radio series Afropop Worldwide. He is also Senior Editor at Eyre has contributed to a number of American, British, and Canadian publications, including The Boston Phoenix, Billboard, Guitar Player, Global Rhythm, The Village Voice, The Walrus, and Folk Roots, and is currently the Senior Editor and producer at Eyre also performs, records and teaches African music on guitar including with the Afrodelic New York-based band Timbila.


About NYGF Academy:
Launching at NYGF ’16, this new tradition brings together students, instrument makers, composers, audiophiles, discerning aficionados, and master soloists in convivial symposiums devoted to different aspects of performing, recording, writing for, and building guitars. The Academy will be co-curated by David Spelman and Ed Keller, the director of The New School's Center for Transformative Media (home to the “Future of Guitar” series). “I’ve long wanted to expand the educational components of the Festival, and this takes an important first step in that direction,” NYGF Founder David Spelman explains. “Our ambition is for the Academy to become the TED Talks of all things guitar,” says Spelman.