Debashish Bhattacharya & Derek Gripper
International Guitar Visionaries
- Sunday, Oct 1, 2017
BOX OFFICE 612-332-5299
About Derek Gripper & Debashish Bhattacharya
Two World Music instrumental virtuosos join together for a historic tour when South African kora guitarist Derek Gripper and Indian slide guitarist Debashish Bhattacharya make their North American touring debut in Fall 2017. Each has re-defined the styles of music possible on their instruments, inventing new playing techniques, and composing new works which bring out the full array of their talents.
Kolkata, India’s Guitar Legend Debashish Bhattacharya started learning Indian music from his parents before he learned the alphabet. In his childhood he mastered many Indian classical instrumental styles as well as vocal music from different musical teachers in Calcutta. He became a disciple and student of Brij Bhushan Khabra, the father of Indian classical guitar, for 10 years, and also trained under Ajoy Chakraborty, the eminent Indian vocalist. He has also studied with Ustad Ali Akbar Khan.
As a performer, Debashish gave his first guitar recital at the age of four on the All India Radio, and in a public concert. In his twenties, he evolved a unique style of playing guitar, synthesizing selected features of various other instruments such as the Veena, Sitar, Sarod and Kannur. In 1984, he was awarded the President of India award at the age of 21.
Debashish is perhaps the greatest slide guitarist in India. He has, both through creating the actual design of the instrument, and through his incredible talent and discipline, elevated the Hindustani slide guitar to be the highest evolution of slide guitar anywhere.
Over the past two decades of his illustrious career, Debashish has received prestigious professional recognition on a number of occasions: He received a Grammy nomination in 2002, won the BBC Planet Award in 2005, received another Grammy nomination in 2009 and won the Songlines UK World Music Award in 2016. He is one of the most influential pioneers in Indian music, bringing his innovations to audiences around the world.
Derek Gripper 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.
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.