Paolo Angeli is a Sardinian guitar sorcerer, prepared guitarist, composer – armed with a prepared guitar that is a hybrid cello/guitar/harp/violin/Heath Robinson contraption, Paolo’s art is a wondrous beast tamed by the master musician. Sounds evoking a museum of automata, where mechanicals whir and strangled copper wires vibrate. Paolo coaxes sounds out of the guitar – an orchestra of silence, noise, multi-layered music with strings, hammers, pedals and propellers, which he bows, strikes, plucks and strums. His improvised music is a cross between free jazz, minimal pop and post-folk. He has collaborated with Pat Metheny, Fred Frith and Takumi Fukushima.
Derek Gripper had created some of South Africa’s most extraordinary musical works by fusing the creative traditions and drawing on European classical traditions, Brazilian and Malian kora works, Cape Town’s folk styles and even Indian classical music. Widely lauded for his exploration of Mali’s greatest kora players, Toumani Diabaté and Ballaké Sissoko, Gripper creates a new form of classical guitar music out of some of Africa’s richest musical heritage.
The National Centre for Early Music (being an old church) is a splendid setting for such intimate experimentation. The natural acoustics and ambience contributing to the almost ritualistic drone and sanctity of the music.
The evening may well have been titled ‘The Art of The Guitar’. Both Gripper & Angeli are indeed master-musicians, inspired improvisers, innovative artists challenging both the possibilities of instrumentation and sound.