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