Digital single accompanying our vinyl edition of South African guitarist Derek Gripper's A Year of Swimming (2020). This is Gripper's most multidimensional set of solo guitar works to date - the snapshot of a year of personal transformation framed by the daily ritual of cold water swimming.
The influence of Mali is felt via re-workings of compositions by Salif Keita and Baaba Maal but Gripper also channels the Xhosa uhadi (musical bow) and the mbira (thumb piano) of Zimbabwe as part of a trio of dedications to influential African women performers. The album is fleshed out by his own singular compositional style that marries avant garde guitar primitivism with classical grace and precision. Raw yet ornate, intense yet elegant, Gripper's sound is a force of nature.