Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Toumani Diabate’ Category

SOUNDTRACK: DEREK GRIPPER-Tiny Desk Concert #587 (December 16, 2016).

There are so many amazing musicians in the world that it’s impossible to have heard of all of them.  So it’s no surprise I haven’t heard of Derek Gripper, but at the same time, he is so mesmerizing I’m surprised that I haven’t heard of him before.

The 38-year-old started on violin at age 6, then wound up with one of the few classical-guitar professors in his native South Africa. But touring the world playing the music of the great dead white men was not all that appealing (though Gripper still loves to play Bach). Then he heard a record by the Malian kora player Toumani Diabate. He decided that that’s what he wanted to do: not play the kora itself, but play kora music on the guitar.

Of course, the kora has 21 strings, each tuned to a fixed note. The nylon-stringed guitar Gripper plays has six. But by using unusual tunings and fretting the strings up and down the neck with his left hand, he can pretty much hit all of the kora’s notes.

The remarkable thing is, he figured all of this out — and recorded two acclaimed albums — just by listening to CDs and checking out music online. Gripper painstakingly transcribed what he heard onto a kind of notation called tablature — similar to the music written for the Renaissance vihuela, which was also an inspiration. Earlier this year, Gripper finally made it to Mali, where his efforts received the blessing of Toumani Diabate himself; the two even jammed together.

That’s an amazing story but it’s nothing compared to the quality of his music.  It really does sound like he’s playing, if not the kora exactly, then certainly an instrument with more than 6 strings.

He plays four songs, three are traditional pieces which he has arranged for guitar and the fourth is an original piece.

Hearing the opening notes of “Tuth Jara” (Trad. Arr. Derek Gripper) and you know that you’re not listening to a typical guitar–the trills and runs sound so West African.   And once you get past the mesmerizing nature of his fingers. The melody is really pretty too.

“Joni” is an original piece about a love affair with a singer–the way he tells the story is delightful.  I love that part of the song is him actually down tuning one of the strings for a bit and then tuning it back up (all while playing everything else).  I also really like that he makes relatively quiet humming/singing noises while he’s playing.

He says he was inspired by Diabate who turned the kora into a solo instrument–which is much easier than traveling with a  band.  And then he illustrates how he plays kora music on his guitar–a bassline, the accompaniment and the melody–all on the guitar all by himself.  That’s his introduction to “Jarabi” (Trad. Arr. Derek Gripper).  And during the incredible playing out comes a beautiful, catchy and fun melody line.  All too soon, it’s over.

But since he has some time, they encourage him to play one more–“they’d be happier!” if he did.  So he ends with “Duga” (Trad. Arr. Derek Gripper) which he describes as a conversation between ngoni and kora.  The kora wins because he knows more about kora.   And like so many of his pieces, it is over way too soon.

[READ: June 13, 2016] Lunch Lady and the Summer Camp Shakedown

As Book 4 opens, Lunch Lady is seen in a two-page spread wielding her fish-stick-nunchucks.

Then we see that everyone is heading off to summer camp.   The kids have been looking forward to summer camp since they were little and they are finally old enough. Sadly Milmoe the bully will be there too.

And, unbeknownst to Lunch Lady and Betty, they are working at the same camps as the kids.  Lunch Lady has worked there before and she knows everyone, she gives us the lowdown on the counselors like Scotty who has always been the most popular and Ben, the new guy, who is pretty foxy himself.

The counselors are super excited when the kids show up, although Dee is a little blasé about it.  And then they run into Lunch Lady. (more…)

Read Full Post »