Derek Gripper released as his ninth album, One Night on Earth: Music from the Strings of Mali, late in 2012, an album of kora interpretations that astonished John Williams into saying he thought it was “absolutely impossible until I heard Derek Gripper do it”. When kora maestro Toumani Diabate heard these recordings he disbelievingly asked his host and producer Lucy Duran to confirm that she had actually seen one person play this music on just one guitar. Recorded at an all-night session Gripper’s guitar magically conjures anew a centuries-old ancient African musical heritage.
Interpreting the compositions of three of Mali’s greatest instrumental virtuosos: kora players Toumani Diabaté and Ballaké Sissoko alongside the music of guitarist Ali Farka Touré, this album created a new form of classical guitar music and a new take on one of Africa’s most complex musical traditions. The UK’s top world music publication Songlines Magazine called One Night on Earth ”a staggering achievement,” and selected the recording as a Top of the World album in 2013. Derek is currently working on a duo project with world famous guitarist John Williams.