Derek Gripper, hosted by OCTOPI at The Ladder

Thu Apr 15, 19:30 - Thu Apr 15, 21:00
The Ladder on 136


The event is hosted by OCTOPI, check them out here:

And if you'd like to see more of the location:

When: 15th April, 7:30pm, for 8pm

Where: The Ladder, 136 Bree St, Cape Town City Centre, Cape Town, 8001

Bring a cushion and get cosy!

Find out more about Derek here: or listen to his music on all streaming sites.

It took Derek Gripper untold hours of painstaking work to transcribe note-for-note the complex compositions of Malian kora player Toumani Diabaté and find a way of playing them on six-string guitar. The results appeared on his ninth album, “One Night on Earth.” The album created an unprecedented meeting point between the written tradition of Western classical music and the oral tradition of the West African griots.

Critical acclaim was quick to follow. Classical guitar legend John Williams said he thought it was “absolutely impossible until I heard Derek Gripper do it.” Toumani Diabaté himself asked for confirmation that it was indeed just one person playing one guitar. Both invited Derek to collaborate with them: Derek performed with Williams in London’s Shakespeare’s Globe and King’s Place, and with Diabaté and his Symmetric Orchestra at the Acoustik Festival Bamako, Mali. He also played with Trio da Kali at Carnegie Hall and won a Songlines Award for the best album in Africa and the Middle East. Derek tours regularly in the USA, Canada, Britain, Europe, Zimbabwe, Swaziland, Namibia, Australia, Malaysia, India and Mali. 

Thank you to Alex Birns for the photos in this ad and design by Cara at Octopi

“Five stars… Gripper has brilliantly transferred [the kora] repertoire onto a regular six string guitar. He sees [Toumani] Diabaté as the Segovia, or indeed John Williams, of the kora, championing it as a solo instrument. And Gripper brilliantly takes it back to the guitar. He’s opening a whole new repertoire of classical guitar music… bringing African guitar into the classical mainstream.”


“Gripper has cracked it… his playing has a depthless beauty, which does full justice to the complexity of Toumani’s compositions. To do so without any hint of the music being dumbed down is a staggering achievement on solo guitar.”


“More than a labour of love, Gripper has brought a new purity to the dream-like improvisatory nature of these compositions. My recording of the year, so far!”


“The result is astounding, not just for its technical brilliance, but its musicality. Gripper executes these pieces with the precision and attention to detail one might expect from a great classical musician… It’s hard to imagine a more impressive and passionate rendering of Malian music on classical guitar.”


“A true synthesis and a great album.”


Additional information

Age restriction No under 16s
Refund policy No refunds


Derek Gripper, hosted by OCTOPI at The Ladder
The Ladder on 136
136 Bree St, Cape Town City Centre, Cape Town, 8000
Get Directions Get Directions

Twitter Feed


How can we help?