I had never heard anything about Derek Gripper until I learned that the Center for the Arts was bringing him to campus … and I realized I had been missing out on an innovative — and pretty famous ?! — musician.
Gripper’s music takes inspiration from the kora music of Mali, interpreting ancient African traditional music using his acoustic guitar. And people have taken notice of his unique musical ideas and skills — Gripper has already given a TED talk about his study of great African composers, and after his concert at Wesleyan this Friday, he already has plans to perform at Carnegie Hall and on NPR’s “Tiny Desk” concert series.
Read on after the jump for more on Derek Gripper:
Traditional African music is not Gripper’s only source of inspiration: he also says he’s been influenced by Olivier Messaien’s layered sounds, by African-inspired structures in Steve Reich’s music, and by attempts to play Bach’s music on guitar.
I think it’s very cool that Gripper is working to create new versions of traditional music that is hundreds of years old, while also combining influences from throughout history. I also think it’s too bad he’s not very well-known on campus right now. Tickets are still available for his concert Friday night if you want to check out his music!