Trio

Richard is half way through his Christmas tour and if you’ve been following his live Facebook posts it has been going down a real treat. Most venues have been sold out and the audience feedback has been warm, enthusiastic and just fabulous wherever they have appeared:

“Truly incredible and beautiful. The most beautiful guitar playing I’ve ever heard”
Saan White – Sayers Common Church

“Brilliant concert last night. We’d never seen any of you before but you were individually superb, and collectively sublime.”
Chris Smith – Theatre Clwyd

“You were all fantastic at Cobham last week – thank you”
Katherine Gatehouse – Cobham

Meanwhile, we’ve been delving into Richards new online shop and have found the perfect Christmas gift with Richard Durrant’s Christmas Guitars – his 14 track kaleidoscopic vision of what Christmas means to this most gifted and eclectic acoustic musician.

Christmas Guitars

Available as a physical CD, full album download, or – for the real connoisseurs, a FLAC full album download. Have a listen to one of the tracks here in Mark Charlton’s film with Barry Cartledge’s photography of northern English, winter landscapes:

With Amy Kakoura’s vocals, contributions from a school choir as well as Richard’s own young children, the UK guitar maestro allies his revered technique to everything he can lay his hands on in his studio: Hammond, harpsichord, piano, cello, mandolins, ukulele and recorders are heard alongside Durrant’s guitars. And just when you think the Christmas mix cannot get any richer, up pops the gravelly voice of comedy legend Barry Cryer on ‘The Polar Bear’ – inspired by the well-documented plight of the bears in their changing Arctic environment.

Track listings

1. Winter Danza
2. Emmanuel Gloria
3. Past Three O’Clock
4. Joululaulu
5. A Christmas Eve Lullaby
6. The Secret Dance Of The Pets
7. An Acoustic Winter Solstice
8. All The Animals
9. A Northern Winter Night
10. Because Of Christmas Day
11. A Christmas Wish
12. The Polar Bear (Bear; Cubs: Ice January; The Swim; Artic Sky)
13. This World Needs To Sing
14. A Christmas Eve Lullaby (Coda)

Christmas Guitars

Other tracks include the pared-back poignancy of Finnish song ‘Joululaulu’ and Phil Jewson’s ‘Because of Christmas Day’ – written for Durrant and showcasing him in his element – gorgeous, solo guitar with nothing added. Anchoring the whole album is Durrant’s masterly tone poem ‘An Acoustic Winter Solstice’, full of icy wonder and otherworldliness.

A Quiet Word from the 13th Century

And don’t forget Richard’s other great Christmas stocking filler is A QUIET WORD FROM THE 13TH CENTURY. Also available as a physical CD, full MP3 album download and FLAC full album download,  this Christmas album features the voice of Amy Kakoura in some seasonal favourites both medieval and new including I Saw Three Ships, O Little Town of Bethlehem and Personent Hodie.

Still wondering what to get for the ‘person who has everything’ this Christmas? Here are a few seasonal ideas for some great Christmas gifts from Richard Durrant.

Richard is currently in the midst of his Magical Candlelit Christmas Tour. Let’s hear how it’s going in his own words:

“Kicking off the tour with a packed house and news of further sell outs was a great way to start my Christmas shows – but this was also the first real test of my idea to bring Amy Kakoura and Nick Pynn together in the same show. Did it work?  Well – yes. It was a dream come true – these two are great musicians and great entertainers and the sound of our first trio had a sort of triumphant ring. It really is a  beautiful, folky, wintry recipe that we have cooked up and it seems to be a lot more than the sum of its parts.  But then the same can be said of Christmas…”

If you’re looking for a rather special pre-Christmas treat be aware that tickets are selling fast – check for the latest availability near you:

And looking ahead to 2017 some of Richard’s show are already on sale…

Richard Durrant and Ismael ledesma

Following the huge success of the partnership with the Paraguayan harpist Ismael Ledesma, Richard and he are recording an album in January and performing together at the Ropetackle Arts Centre in Shoreham-by-Sea on Tuesday 24 January before heading of to Paraguay when they take their musical partnership to South America. Tickets would be a really special Christmas present:

Another great Christmas present would be a couple of tickets to see Stringhenge. Richard Durrant’s latest musical adventure will feature the Sussex built Uffington Tenor Guitar and a unique six string Concert Guitar, built in Lincolnshire and made from 5,000 year old bog oak.

Stringehenge tour

Stringhenge is as beautifully produced and richly visual as any of Durrant’s recent tours. Its also unplugged allowing you to hear and feel the vibrations of the wood in these incredible guitars. Durrant plays them brilliantly and is a clever weaver of intriguing tales linking music from the neolithic to the 21st century.

Tickets for several Stringhenge concerts are already on sale:

Ditchling, East Sussex: 24 March

Beverley, Yorkshire: 30 March

Shoreham-by-Sea, West Sussex: 22 April

If it’s stocking fillers you are looking for then check out the brilliant sounds of Richard Durrant from the Online Shop stuffed full of CDs and downloads:

Christmas Guitars

And what better Christmas treat than Richards latest amazing, colourful and intriguing book: The Number 26 Bus to Paraguay. Containing eleven, previously unreleased, beautiful new guitar pieces, plus the story of how a number 26 Brighton bus took a musician all the way to Paraguay this really is a Christmas giveaway at just £20.

The Number 26 Bus to Paraguay

The Number 26 Bus to Paraguay

In less than a month Richard Durrant will be heading out in his magic sleigh together with his special guests Amy Kakoura and Nick Pynn on his Candlelit Christmas Concert Tour. In this article we take a closer look at the fabulous venues where he will be delivering his Christmas goodies. Will there be a venue near you?

Christmas tour

Starting off on 2 December in West Sussex at his home venue of the Ropetackle Arts Centre, Shoreham-by-Sea. Richard is actually giving a further two performances here later in December so there are several opportunities to catch him here.

Ropetackle Arts Centre

Next it’s on to the atmospheric 13th century church of St Mary Magdalene in Cobham, Kent before whizzing up north to the Lake District for a visit to the lovely Hunter Hall School in Penrith then down to rural Leicestershire and the village of Stoke Golding on the Ashby-de-la-Zouch canal – famous for being the birthplace of the Tudor Dynasty.

Cobham, Penrith and Stoke Golding

Cobham, Penrith and Stoke Golding

Over the border to north Wales for the next leg of this whistle stop UK tour and to Theatr Clwyd in the Flintshire town of Mold before heading across the country to East Anglia and the charming church of St Mary the Virgin near Eccles before a trip down to The Cut, an arts centre in a converted former maltings on pretty Suffolk village of Halesworth.

Theatr Clwyd, Eccles, The Cut

Theatr Clwyd, Eccles, The Cut

A few more to go and all in the South East for the final calls at the quaint 11th century church of St Mary’s & St Peter’s, Wilmington in East Sussex. After the two extra performance at the Ropetackle it’s on to Royal Tunbridge Wells in Kent for a show at the cleverly converted Trinity Theatre. And Christmas will finally be well and truly wrapped in West Sussex when the tour finally comes to rest at All Saints Church in Findon Valley, Worthing.

Wilmington, Royal Tunbridge Wells, Worthing

Wilmington, Royal Tunbridge Wells, Worthing

Richard will certainly have earned a mince pie or two by then! A sell-out success year after year, Richard’s evocative playing and stunning stage set create a magical aura perfectly aligned to the festive season. Ensure Richard Durrant’s Candlelit Christmas Tour is part of your Christmas schedule this year.

The Number 26 Bus to Paraguay

A new book containing eleven, previously unreleased, beautiful new guitar pieces plus the story of how a number 26 Brighton bus took a musician all the way to Paraguay has now been published. 

Richard Durrant’s amazing, colourful and intriguing new book is called The Number 26 Bus to Paraguay.

Richard explains:

“As a kid I used to catch the number 26 bus every Wednesday night from where I lived on a council estate just outside Brighton to guitar lessons in Hove. 

I loved that bus ride; I’d sit all alone on the upper deck, gazing out at the Sussex Downs watching the changing seasons. I made that journey for years, regular as clockwork. It was a musician’s journey, full of dreams.

I also remember one hot summer’s afternoon, just back from school and playing in the garden under the open kitchen window. My Mum had put my favourite Alirio Diaz record on the family radiogram and the music of Agustín Barrios was blaring out of the house.”

Agustin Barrios, 1922

Agustin Barrios, 1922

“Many years later I was living nine miles along the coast in Shoreham by Sea, with children of my own.  And one of those No 26 bus ride dreams had come true: I was living the life of a full time musician.

Then one day in early 2011 – whilst working on a collection of recordings of music by Barrios – the phone rang. It was a man with a strong South American accent:

“Would you consider travelling to Paraguay to play some concerts and launch your new album?”.

I smiled: “OK”.

There remained just one important question: 

What to call the album?

The answer was easy:  The Number 26 Bus to Paraguay.

A page from Richard Durrant's brilliant new book

In April 2011 Richard arrived in Paraguay for the first time and a new musical adventure began. Over the next few years he returned to this fascinating land which inspired some of his finest work, amazing tales, three albums, awards and accolades.

In this beautiful book, guitarist and composer Richard Durrant tells his story in music, pictures and words. With artwork by Mark Charlton, photos from Richard’s tours and a vibrant cover illustration by Miranda Vincent 

The Number 26 Bus to Paraguay is available now in its limited first edition from this website. It will also be on sale at live shows.

Richard Durrant and Ismael Ledesma

Hear Richard Durrant and Paraguayan harpist Ismael Ledesma live in concert 11-16 October in London, Shoreham-by-Sea, Crawley, Edinburgh, Scopwick and Swindon.


Richard Durrant Ukulele Workshops

By popular demand! Richard is offering a series of fantastic opportunities to learn the Ukulele this autumn. Whether you are a complete beginner or want to improve your Uke skills these workshops are for you. Held in Shoreham-by-Sea and Brighton there are three courses on offer – each for an hour a week over a six week period starting 26 October.

Richard Durrant Ukulele Workshops

Ukulele Ground Zero

If you are a complete beginner this course is for you. This six-week introduction to uke playing is an informative, enjoyable and a comprehensive way to start your ukulele adventures. Join Richard for this gentle and friendly way to get started with this accessible and fun filled instrument.

WHERE: Ropetackle Arts Centre, Little High Street, Shoreham-by-Sea. BN43 5EG

WHEN: 6pm to 7pm First session is on Wednesday 26 October 2016

Ropetackle Arts Centre


Ukulele Circuit Training

If your uke playing has plateaued, then this immensely enjoyable and popular weekly musical workout is the perfect solution. Learn new techniques whilst developing a deeper and more instinctive understanding of chords, notes and songs. Join Richard and get closer to your inner uke in a friendly and exhilarating hour of musical keep-fit in Shoreham-by-Sea or Brighton this Autumn.

WHERE: Ropetackle Arts Centre, Little High Street, Shoreham-by-Sea. West Sussex. BN43 5EG

WHEN: 7.30pm – 8.30pm starting on Wednesday 26 October 2016

Ropetackle Arts Centre

WHERE: Hobgoblin Music, Queens Road, Brighton.BN1 3XF

WHEN: 7pm – 8pm starting on Thursday 27 October 2016

Hobgoblin Music


Each course is just £60 for the 6 week course

For more information call 01273 453422.

Ismael Ledesma

In the second part of our interviews into the background to Richard Durrant’s collaboration with the Paraguayan harpist Ismael Ledesma, Nicholas Keyworth caught up with Ismael who now lives in Paris.

Ismael explains the chance meeting with Richard which began their collaboration:

A friend of mine, Robert Munro, invited me to hear Richard in concert in London. From the very first notes I was spellbound by his music and his personality. I went to find him after the concert and I found him to be really friendly. Robert Munro invited Richard around to his house near Oxford. He played his guitar and I played him a bit of harp, and, voilà, the magic began!

I was fascinated to hear more about this unusual pairing of instruments and how it works in practice. Ismael explained:

The guitar and the harp go very well together and it’s quite a common combination in Paraguay. But the combination of me and Richard is particularly interesting because we are both soloists with freedom of spirit and in two completely different worlds. We are both totally in service to the music and we want to share this combination and show that two very different personalities from two very different parts of the globe can give happiness to the world!

Ismael went on to explain more about the musical points of connection between the duo:

Our point of connection is the the freedom of music and the desire to play together. Richard loves my music, and I love his, and we both have the freedom to come together and share the variety from our two cultures. 

Richard Durrant and Ismael Ledesma

Being authentic in musical performance is a big thing these days. I asked Ismael to what extent the music they play is true to its Paraguayan roots – or are they creating something new? 

We become authentic as soon as we become different from others. In my case, my Paraguayan roots are ever present but I think that I’m unusual because I’m a creator and I don’t copy others. I write my own music and I believe in it. I’ve chosen the most difficult path, and I’ve faced conservatism that wanted to wound me or criticise me. It has been hard, but not impossible. As well as being an interpreter, I consider myself as someone who respects the work of the composer. Richard is an interpreter as well as a creator who brings something different to the music!

Finally, I asked Ismael how collaborations like theirs can continue to thrive in a possible future political climate of change with Brexit and the danger of drifting apart. He gave me a typically pragmatic answer:

Music has no boundaries and and this is what gives Richard and I great pleasure because we embrace the freedom and the union of two totally different cultures. We always find a way to come together and play. This time, I’m crossing the Channel to meet up with him. The next time it will be he who comes to me, and we also have the freedom to go elsewhere. England and France will never be separated – we all need each other!

Hear Richard Durrant and Ismael Ledesma live in concert 11-14 October in London, Shoreham-by-Sea, Crawley, Edinburgh, Scopwick and Swindon.

Richard Durrant's cycling tour

Guitarist and raconteur Richard Durrant may be a regular performer at the Ropetackle Arts Centre in Shoreham-by-Sea but this Saturday offers a rare opportunity to witness something rather special… purely acoustic and in the round.

So here are five things you might not have known about this extraordinary musician…

1.    Richard Durrant is unplugged

Richard will perform this show completely acoustic and unplugged on a 6 string Concert Guitar by Gary Southwell and 4 string Tenor Guitar by Ian Chisholm.

2.    More than a guitarist…

In addition to all these guitars Richard also plays ukulele and a variety of other instruments including cello.

3.    A composer too!

Richard is also an accomplished composer and recently premiered his long lost Clarinet Sonata as well as ‘The Girl at the Airport’ for guitar and strings with the City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra.

The Girl At The Airport

4.    A Paraguayan music explorer

Richard has just completed a five year project  including visiting and exploring the colourful landscape, culture and music of Paraguay. 

5.    And a musical cyclist

For the last two years Richard cycled over 3,000 miles playing 50 Cycling Music concerts around England and Scotland.

Richard Durrant's cycling tour

Richard Durrant’s cycling tour

This Saturday, 24 September: Ropetackle at its most intimate. 

Ismael Ledesma

Richard Durrant’s collaboration with a Paraguayan harpist living in Paris might seem unusual, but as Richard explains it is a perfect match and opens up so many opportunities:

“In Paraguay the harp is a deeply social instrument, it often accompanies dancing and, in many ways evokes the sound of Paraguay. It is quite usual for a guitarist to join the musical party, but only to underpin the rhythm and harmony, never to play the tune. I really look forward to letting my guitar stir this up a bit and I know Ismael’s harp will respond.”

How did you meet Ismael and what is your attraction to Paraguayan music?

“A recurring theme for me has been Paraguayan music.The country’s most famous son – guitarist composer Agustín Barrios – was my initial attraction but after three solo tours in Paraguay I had become more been immersed in the music of this beautiful part of south America. Ismael attended a concert I was giving at the Bolivar Hall in London as one of the launch events for my Paraguayan CD trilogy. Ismael and I chatted afterwards and it was apparent that we had more than age in common. The opportunity to collaborate with on of the greatest Paraguayan harpists was just too exciting and fascinating an opportunity to miss.”

Ismael Ledesma

Ismael Ledesma

So where are the points of connection with you each coming from very different musical and cultural backgrounds?

“Ismael and I have dedicated our working lives to music and to our instruments. With that lifetime of concentrating on tiny finger movements and incredible sonic detail there is much that is purely intuitive between us and the outcome is both fascinating and unexpected. Paraguay is a small, landlocked, heart shaped country in the very centre of the southern cone of South America and this is our point of connection – la música del corazón!”

Are you playing music which is authentic to its Paraguayan roots – or are you creating something new?

“Ismael plays a Paraguayan harp, but it’s a harp that is European in origin and the instrument appears throughout south America. So the strongest aspects of Ismael’s playing are Paraguayan, but some are pan south American and some are purely original. I speak some of the language of Paraguayan music and I can hear the layers of the colonial as well as the Paraguayan/Guarani so beloved by Barrios himself. This means that Paraguay will be at the centre of what we play, but my guitar playing has to feel free and unconstrained and for me therein lies true authenticity.”

Richard Durrant

Richard Durrant

“Geographically you are now both fairly close, but how will Brexit affect collaborations like yours in a political climate of change?

“I’ve watched politics for many years and have seen real cause for hope as 21st century technologies benefit from that exponential curve of computing power bringing hope for our environment and for ordinary people across the globe. So why has humanity’s almost divine brilliance so far been unable to create a compassionate, professional and trustworthy political system?  And just when the European project seemed to be steering towards such a thing – at least in ethos – how could so many ordinary people return to the xenophobic and the self interested to create something as negative as Brexit?

Musicians and artists  are accustomed to surviving against the odds, its what we have to do and its in our nature, so cross cultural collaborations will always exist. I worry more about the future for the rest of us when we have so deliberately stacked the odds against ourselves. If they vote for Trump in the US at least he’ll be controlled to some degree by the senate until he’s kicked out, but for Europe there is no way back.

However, I celebrate the positivity of music and feel blessed to be doing what I’m doing. My optimism and energy is fuelled by the sound of my strings and the strength and generosity of my audiences.”

Hear Richard Durrant and Ismael Ledesma live in concert 11-14 October in London, Shoreham-by-Sea, Crawley, Edinburgh, Scopwick and Swindon.

Richard Durrant

unplugged

Catch internationally renowned concert guitarist and composer Richard Durrant at some great venues this September with some fantastic music, storytelling and all round entertainment.

“Brimful of technically impressive guitar playing on the folk/ classical cusp, with nimble runs, deft arpeggios and quicksilver fingering.” – The Independent

Firstly, in the intimate, candlelit setting of the Chapel at Bailiffscourt on 16 September a completely acoustic recital to include music by JS Bach on his unique four string tenor guitar alongside favourite solos on his six string concert guitar.

Chapel at Bailiffscourt

Chapel at Bailiffscourt

There is also the opportunity to enjoy a delicious three course Spanish tapas dinner following the concert. You can even stay the night at this magnificent venue to make a really special weekend break.

A week later on 24 September Richard is back in his home town of Shoreham-by-Sea with another chance to listen to these two beautiful, new instruments in the round at the Ropetackle Arts Centre – This will be Ropetackle at its most intimate.

“Durrant never lets his stunning technique overshadow this wonderful, timeless music” – The Sun

Richard at the Ropetackle

Richard at the Ropetackle

And finally this month on 28 September, Richard is performing at the lively Hurst Festival in the lovely West Sussex village of village of Hurstpierpoint. Catch up with Richard’s latest South American musical adventures (this time in Peru) and treat yourself to an evening of exotic musical offerings from Spain, the Americas and the Sussex coast.

“Extraordinary virtuosity… A simply unmissable treat” – Classic FM Magazine

 

Richard Durrant

Fresh from the mountains of Peru, Richard Durrant’s celebration of 30 years on the road will take place on 20 July at his home town venue – The Ropetackle in Shoreham-by-Sea. This will launch yet another whistle stop tour of the British Isles taking Richard from Nottingham villages to the Isle of Skye – complete with his enormous dog ‘Bollo’.

Many people have already discovered that Richard is no ordinary musician through his mesmerising Guitar Whisperer tour. On the eve of the summer holidays, enjoy a captivating evening of new exotic musical offerings from Spain, the Americas and the Sussex coast.

With his trademark beautiful lighting and projections Richard punctuates his incredible guitar playing with stories from a lifetime in music in a show that is joyfully virtuosic, at times deeply moving, and always hugely entertaining.

Extraordinary virtuosity… A simply unmissable treat’
Classic FM Magazine

‘Brimful of technically impressive guitar playing on the folk/classical cusp, with nimble runs, deft arpeggios and quicksilver fingering’
The Independent

‘Flawless and mesmerising’
Acoustic Magazine

One of the highlights of the launch event will be Richard’s long lost Clarinet Sonata. The original score was lost in 1984 and then was miraculously returned to Richard 30 years later – to be given its world premiere after 30 years – by clarinetist Jon Carnac and pianist Howard Beach. Howard will also be joining Richard to play Bach and Vivaldi on Harpsichord and Guitar along with some surprise guests joining Richard for the party.

Another highlight with be the unveiling of the brand new ‘Uffington Guitar’. This incredible instrument has been specially commissioned by Richard from Sussex luthier Ian Chisholm and has been inspired by Berkshire’s magnificent prehistoric White Horse at Uffington. Richard says of the instrument: “This amazing new instrument has a magical, silvery sound bringing a new dimension to each concert. Exploring Bach on metal strings played with a plectrum is a fascinating experience!”

From Shoreham-by-Sea Richard hits the road from a tour which includes Aslockton in Nottinghamshire, The Isle of Skye and Peebles in Scotland. Full details of the tour can be found here.

Tickets for the Shoreham-on-Sea 30th anniversary event can be bought direct from the Ropetackle at www.ropetacklecentre.co.uk Tel: 01273 464440.