Guitar stars team up for Bury St Edmunds gig

Derek Gripper. Photo by Christoph Lenz
Derek Gripper. Photo by Christoph Lenz

Virtuoso guitarists Derek Gripper and Paolo Angeli feature in a double bill of contrast and beauty at The Apex in Bury St Edmunds on February 5.

While both are connected to world, folk and classical traditions, they will be equally enjoyed by avant-garde and jazz fans.

Sardinian guitar sorcerer Paolo Angeli extracts beautiful multi-layered music from his uniquely prepared guitar; a hybrid orchestra of an instrument with multi-directional strings, hammers, pedals and propellers which he bows, strikes, plucks and strums.

With this singular instrument he improvises and composes unclassifiable music, suspended between free jazz, minimal pop, post-folk and pre-everything else.

Paolo Angeli has performed at several jazz and avant-garde music festivals (Melbourne International Jazz Festival and the Jazz Festival of Montevideo) and runs his own festival of traditional and experimental music in Sardinia.

He has collaborated and performed with one of the main pioneers of prepared guitar – the British composer and avant-garde musician Fred Frith (a founding member of the rock group, Henry Cow) and jazz guitarist Pat Metheny.

Metheny ordered one of Paolo’s prepared guitars for himself and explained “Paolo Angeli has developed a significant new direction for the guitar with his innovations in design for our instrument.”

Best known for his engagement with the kora (a West African calabash harp), Derek Gripper has produced some of South Africa’s most extraordinary musical works by fusing the country’s disparate creative traditions with styles throughout the world.

His music also draws on European classical traditions, avant-garde Brazilian works, Malian kora works, Cape Town’s folk styles, and even Indian classical music, all the while synthesizing them into a style uniquely his own.

Widely lauded for his recent exploration of Mali’s greatest kora players, Toumani Diabaté and Ballaké Sissoko, alongside the music of guitarist Ali Farka Touré, Gripper creates a new form of classical guitar music out of some of Africa’s richest musical heritage.

Gripper’s latest album, ‘Libraries on Fire’, was recently named as one of the 10 best albums of 2016 by the top world music magazine, Songlines.

Gripper has performed alongside the legendary classical guitarist, John Williams, who holds Gripper in extremely high esteem.

Describing his kora interpretations as “one of the most interesting things I’ve heard on guitar in twenty years, Williams also said, “He’s absolutely amazing ... someone that we all have a lot to learn from.”