Trio Da Kali + Derek Gripper

World Music Institute & Brooklyn Bowl Present: Festival of Mali

Trio Da Kali + Derek Gripper

Sunday, April 15th, 2018

Doors: 6:00 pm / Show: 8:00 pm


This event is 21 and over

3 Night Pass Tickets ($56.25): Click Here!


Derek Gripper: 8:00pm

Trio De Kali: 9:15pm

Trio Da Kali
Trio Da Kali
Trio Da Kali unites three outstanding musicians from the Mande culture of southern Mali who come from a long line of distinguished griots (hereditary musicians). Formed of voice, balafon and bass ngoni, the Trio aim to bring a contemporary twist to ancient and neglected repertoires.
Hawa Kassé Mady Diabaté, daughter of the legendary griot singer Kassé Mady Diabaté, is the Trio’s vocalist. Her rich, expressive voice and her natural vibrato have brought comparisons with Mahalia Jackson, America's great gospel singer. The Trio’s musical director is master balafonist Lassana Diabaté. One of Mali’s most astonishing musicians, Lassana has recorded and toured with many of West Africa’s foremost artists including Toumani Diabate’s Grammy-Award nominated Afrocubism album and Symmetric Orchestra project. The youngest member of the Trio is bass ngoni player Mamadou Kouyaté. Still in his mid-twenties, the eldest son of world-renowned Grammy nominated ngoni player Bassekou Kouyaté brings a contemporary feel to the traditions he has learnt from his father.
Trio Da Kali was originally formed to develop a collaborative project with The Kronos Quartet, produced by the Aga Khan Music Initiative; David Harrington (of Kronos) described it as 'one of the most beautiful collaborations Kronos has had in our first 40 years'. Following the debut live performance of the collaboration at the Clarice Smith Center for Performing Arts in Maryland, USA in 2014, the two groups came together to perform again at Montreux Jazz Festival 2015. A studio recording of the collaboration is under development.
Since their formation Trio Da Kali have performed at some of the world’s most prestigious venues. They made their debut in 2012 at The Royal Albert Hall in London for a BBC Prom, followed by performances later that year with Toumani Diabate at the Theatre de la Ville in Paris and the Royal Festival Hall as part of the London Jazz Festival. Following a Making Tracks tour of the UK in 2015, other prestigious festival appearances followed, including Celtic Connections in Glasgow and sold out performances at the British Library’s West Africa: Word, Symbol Song festival, both in January 2016, and two sold out shows at the Festival of the Centro Historico in Mexico City, featuring Ballake Sissoko and Kassé Mady Diabaté and a performance at Cully Jazz in Switzerland during Spring 2016.
Trio Da Kali’s recorded material to date consists of a ep released in 2015 to coincide with their Making Tracks tour of the UK. Recorded in Bamako, produced by Lucy Durán ('Toumani & Sidiki', 'New Ancient Strings', 'Segu blue') for World Circuit, the 5-track EP brings this recorded repertoire to an international market for the first time.
While the trio has developed, so as individuals they have each continued to break new ground: in 2015 Lassana and Hawa were among musicians selected for their capacity to play 18th Century Mande music for the TV film series ROOTS, readapted from the hit series in the 1980s and broadcast earlier this year in the US on The History Channel.  Hawa was invited to the India-Africa Summit in New Delhi in 2015 where she opened the celebratory concert at the President’s palace with Indian Sufi Gospel creator, Sonam Kalra.  And in June 2016 she performed spellbinding solo vocals for Terry Riley’s innovative Mali in C presented by Damon Albarn’s Africa Express project at prestigious European festivals – Les Nuits de Fauvière in Lyon and Holland Festival.
Meanwhile, and following on from the successful collaboration with the Kronos Quartet, Lassana was invited to compose a contribution inspired by the Sundjata epic to the Kronos collection of distinguished examples of contemporary music entitled “Forty For the Future”. He continues to contribute to Kronos Quartet concerts around the world. Mamadou Kouyate continues to tour and record with his father, as well as running his own studio in Bamako.
Derek Gripper
Derek Gripper
Derek began his formal musical training at the age of six on the violin.
After studying classical music in Cape Town for the next thirteen years he
began to look further afield for musical inspiration. This search took him to
India where he studied South Indian Carnatic music. On his return home
he began to focus on the guitar, trying to find a new direction for the
instrument. He was attracted to the use of multiple layers in the music of
Oliver Messiaen, the African-influenced structures of Steve Reich, as well
as to guitar arrangements of the music of J.S.Bach, but it was when he met
up with Cape Jazz trumpeter Alex van Heerden that he started to see that
his previous studies could be used to find new directions for the music of
South Africa.

After a host of groundbreaking albums which redefined the landscape of
South African music, most notable being the visionary Sagtevlei with Alex
van Heerden, Derek began to incorporate the music of other composers
in his performances. His long-time fascination with the music of Brazilian
Egberto Gismonti led to a project to transcribe this musician’s guitar music, a composer that Gripper describes as “the Heitor Villa Lobos of our time.” The
result is a constantly growing collection of Gismonti’s scores and recordings, many of which have only been recorded by Gismonti himself. The Sound of
Water, Derek Gripper’s recording of the music of Egberto Gismonti was nominated for a South African Music Award (SAMA) for the best Classical and
Instrumental album of 2012.

In 2009 Derek began studying the playing techniques of this instrument by learning traditional Malian compositions on the kora, and two years later had a breakthrough: by using the simple textural language of the Spanish renaissance lute (called vihuela), it was possible to play the highly complex kora
compositions of the great Malian virtuoso Toumani Diabate on the six string guitar, without omitting a note of the original performances. Derek Gripper’s
project to create an African repertoire for the classical guitar, based on transcriptions of works by some of Africa’s greatest musicians, resulted in a growing collection of outstanding African Guitar arrangements, with works by Toumani Diabaté, Ballaké Sissoko, Ali Farka Touré, Amadou Bansand Jobarteh, South African bow player Madosini and others, bringing the guitar and the music of African to life in new and exciting ways.

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 Durán 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.

In 2014 Derek was commissioned by Botkyrka Konsthalle in Sweden to compose and record a sound installation for two exhibitions linking architecture
and art: The Venice Architecture Biennale and Fittja Open, a new biannual in Stockholm. The installation has been released on CD as Cassette Locale
After Masanobu Fukuoka.

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).
Venue Information:
Brooklyn Bowl
61 Wythe Avenue
Brooklyn, NY, 11249

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