Richard Durrant Summer Special

Richard Durrant is back home in Shoreham-by-Sea to kickstart the holidays with his 2019 Summer Special…

Guitarist and composer Richard Durrant returns with a musical celebration of midsummer and another classic series of gigs on the folk/classical cusp.

Maverick guitarist Richard Durrant kicks off the silly season with a fun packed musical celebration of the summer holidays – and of course the Beano Summer Special is in the shops!

Richard’s end of season Ropetackle gig is particularly special this year as his special guest will be the legendary Paraguayan harpist Cristobal Pedersen. Here’s a clip:


Richard said:I always try and draft in some extra musicians to kick off the celebrations and it just so happens that Cristobal Pedersen, the Paraguayan harpist, is in England and will be joining me at the gig.

Cristobal founded the Arpa Roga which is Paraguay’s leading harp school.  He is the father of Kike (who wrote the harp music included on my Paraguayan trilogy) and we have been friends since my first tour of Paraguay in 2011.

Cristobal’s harp will fill the Ropetackle with South American colours – I just cannot wait.”


In the Ropetackle show Richard will also be performing Book of Spells and Bach’s 3rd Cello Suite which featured in the very successful Music for Midsummer Tour. Richard’s Midsummer Tour 2020 is already booked – and this will be another bicycle powered musical celebration beginning once again in St Magnus Cathedral, Isle of Orkney on June 4th and heading to Brighton Open Air Theatre in time for the Solstice.

Read the full story


Join us for supper too
Before this event we’re also serving delicious food from 6pm.

And this is what is on the menu:
* a delicious main course of seafood chowder and crusty bread
* summer beans, potatoes and feta with salad
* a desert of Strawberry and white chocolate mousse cake.

All this for just £10 (or you can just have the main for £8 or the dessert for £3.50).

Please book in advance when you buy your tickets.


Midsummer tour audiences

Richard Durrant is back home on Shoreham Beach after his Music for Midsummer tour…

The winding route of his UK solstice celebration ended in the small saxon church of St John The Baptist under the Sussex Downs last Sunday.

It was a wonderful, sunny weekend of gigs which included Richard’s biggest crowd yet at the Brighton Open Air Theatre – a concert accompanied by some beautiful birdsong and the breathtaking views out across Brighton and the sparkling English channel beyond.

“At the start of each gig I invited my audiences to share the midsummer peace with me; they responded by generating this great feeling of tranquillity.

“This felt like the perfect space within which to play the Bach Suite and to mark where we all were in the year. In this tour I was searching for the meaning of midsummer and it felt like I found it in the music I played at each and every concert,”
said Richard.


As the British summer seems to be turning hot, Richard is getting ready to leave for the first of his two guitar holidays in the south of France.  En route there is just one, final midsummer concert in Eglise Saint Chartier de Javarzay Chef Boutonne (south of Le Mans).  

The July French Guitar Adventurers holiday is full but there are still a few spaces on the September course.

If you play guitar then come and join the musical party in the sunshine! If you are unsure about your suitability as a musician, please get in touch and we can discuss this. The week includes and encourages a wide range of abilities and musical styles on both classical and acoustic guitars.


Meanwhile back in Sussex it’s Richard’s end of term Summer Special concert at Ropetackle including a guest appearance by the Paraguayan harpist Cristobal Pedersen (father of Kike Pedersen).

Richard Durrant

Following the February premiere of Richard Durrant’s Ukulele Quartet No.1 Tan y Bwlch, the piece has just been performed again – this time in North Wales, the land that inspired the work in the first place…

Composer, guitarist and ukulele pioneer Richard’ Durrant’s eternal enthusiasm for the uke has been boosted by successful appearances at the Ukulele Festival of Scotland and Meet the Ukulele Makers Festival (MUMF) at Plas Tan y Bwlch north Wales.

In 2018, Richard composed his six movement ukulele concerto, Six Grooves for Ukulele. This was the springboard to writing the first ever ukulele quartet which was inspired by the landscape of North Wales.

Tan y Bwlch

Ukulele Quartet No.1 Tan y Bwlch consists of three movements:
I  Penmaenbach
II  Cledrau
III Gogoniant

The piece can be performed by four ukes (all have to be tuned as re-entrant) or by solo ukulele plus three ukulele groups of any size.


The newly released audio recording is available on all digital platforms (i-tunes, Spotify etc).

There are also loads of tutorial films on the Richard Durrant Academy website to help with learning and performing the music.

And the score is also available to buy online.

CALLING ALL UKULELE PLAYERS

Here is a chance for all Ukulele players to join Richard and play along with him at two of his forthcoming Music for Midsummer shows:

  • 20 June 7.45pm The Hawth, Crawley
  • 21 June 7.30pm Brighton Open Air Theatre
The new SuperTenor Ukulele

Each concert in the Music for Midsummer tour includes Richard’s guitar piece Book of Spells as well as Bach’s 3rd Cello Suite played on a brand new SuperTenor Ukulele by the world renowned luthier Pete Howlett. This beautiful uke is made from pencil cedar and is an art object in its own right.

And if you want to take part here are the chord tabs you will need. Richard is refusing to say what the piece is – you’ll find out when you come along and play it – but numbers indicate the number of strums on each chord:

Click below for details of Richard’s five remaining Music for Midsummer gigs played on concert guitars, tenor guitar and ukuleles.

Richard Durrant’s special musical celebration of midsummer inspired by the summer solstice starts in just five days in Aberystwyth and ends in early July in France …

Guitarist and composer Richard Durrant returns with a musical celebration of midsummer and another classic series of gigs on the folk/classical cusp.

As the solstice approaches Durrant reveals a collection of pieces, old favourites, tales from the road and the occasional song gathered together to mark the summer solstice.

‘My new favourite guitarist…Richard Durrant sits comfortably outside the accepted genres.’
Tom Robinson, BBC6 Music

Tours such as this are not new to Richard.  He has toured extensively around the UK with his Christmas show for 15 years. His encounters have changed him from church ‘avoider’ to minister of communion, although still fascinated by Paganism after some years living at the feet of the mysterious hill carving the Long Man of Wilmington.

Richard explains…

‘I want to explore the real meaning of midsummer. This year is the start of a long journey as I try to make sense of it all – just as I did with those early Christmas tours.’

Richard’s Music for Midsummer will include the entire Bach Cello Suite No.3 played on ukulele and Richard’s very own work for guitar Book of Spells. As on the album Stringhenge British folk tunes will be mixed with the music of Bach. And the heat of summer will be felt in a selection of Spanish guitar works.

The summer solstice occurs when one of the Earth’s poles has its maximum tilt toward the Sun. This is the day when the Sun reaches its highest position in the sky and the longest period of daylight. It happens twice yearly, once in each hemisphere.

Since prehistory, the summer solstice has been a significant time of year for many cultures who mark the date with festivals and rituals. In many regions, the summer solstice is simply referred to as ‘Midsummer’.

Music for Midsummer Tour 2019

Join us for this special celebration of music at this magical time of the year. Find out if there is a performance near you: https://www.richarddurrant.com/diary/

Following guest appearances on the main stage at major ukulele festivals in Wales and Scotland later this month, Richard’s Music for Midsummer Tour 2019 will begin at last with concerts in Aberystwyth and Narbeth.

After starting in Wales, the tour continues at a number of English venues before crossing over to France for a special concert in the beautiful church in Chef-Boutonne in France (halfway between Poitiers and Angoulemme).

The church in Chef-Boutonne

It’ll be lovely to play my summer programme in France and to take some positive English vibes across into Europe! I did a little bit of practise in this church on the way to my Guitar Adventurers holiday last year and the acoustic is just fantastic.’

Richard is spending most of May hiding away preparing for the tour but before he did that he enjoyed seeing in the month with his dog Bollo!

The pair of them watched The Sompting Morris (see picture above) with an early morning dance on May Day in the centre of Shoreham. On the same day Radio London spent the afternoon playing extracts from Richard’s prog-folk classic song Morris Dreams – a 7.5 minute extravaganza from last year’s Stringhenge album. The song actually features Sompting Morris complete with sticks, boots and bells!

In addition to the huge Music for Midsummer Tour there are lots of other exciting activities in the months ahead across England, Scotland, Wales and France – check the diary for more information about all these concerts.

STOP PRESS: don’t miss the Homelink 20th Anniversary Concert at Glyndebourne, on Sunday 17 November 2019, 3pm. Richard will be one of the artists appearing at this event which will feature special guests from the charity’s VIP supporter base who will be on stage to introduce the acts.

We wanted to update you about some of Richard Durrant’s upcoming gigs so you don’t miss out on some of his rather special events lined up this Spring…

Travels with my Guitar

Swindon Spring Festival: Swindon Arts Centre
9 May 2019 : 8pm – 10pm
Tickets £9 – £10

Storyteller, concert guitarist, and composer Richard Durrant presents an illustrated talk about his life in music. Dwelling on pivotal moments in his long career, playing six different guitars and a ukulele along the way, Richard shares tales of his musical adventures from the Royal Albert Hall to the centre of South America and plenty of other exciting places in between.

Exclusive Studio Concert

Shoreham-by-Sea Beach
11 May 2019 : 7:00pm – 9:30pm
Tickets £100 – only 10 available

Spend an intimate evening with Richard in his secret studio on Shoreham Beach. This event will be a rare opportunity to meet and hear Richard as he prepares for the upcoming Music for Midsummer tour. This special evening will also include a welcome glass of Prosecco on arrival followed by wine and light finger food.

Music for Midsummer

St Nicholas, Baulking, Oxfordshire
8 June 2019 : 8pm – 10pm
Tickets £15

The beautiful Oxfordshire church of St Nicholas, Baulking provides the atmospheric setting for one of the events in the Music for Midsummer Tour 2019. Richard Durrant reveals a collection of brand new pieces, old favourites, tales from the road and the occasional song inspired by the summer solstice.

All Richard Durrant’s upcoming events are listed on this website. Just click below to see the full list…

This year Richard Durrant brings us a rather special musical celebration of midsummer and a classic collection of new pieces, old favourites, tales from the road and the occasional song inspired by the summer solstice. We talk to Richard to find out more…

You are no stranger to extended UK wide musical tours. How did all this begin?

“Over the past 15 or so years playing my Christmas tour has proved to be a wonderful adventure.  My encounters have been with both Christianity (from church avoider to minister of communion) and paganism (living at the feet of the Long Man of Wilmington on an ancient trade route and fascinated by the hill barrows and sacred sites along the south downs).

Long Man of Wilmington
Long Man of Wilmington

“This has enabled me to use music and my Christmas audience to arrive at a much clearer understanding of midwinter & Christmas and what it means to different people. I understand a lot more about this time of year now – and of course about myself in relation to Christmas and the solstice.”

‘One is left with the impression of a man who loves music and life in equal measure.’

Gramaphone Magazine

So why Midsummer?

“Now I want to begin to explore the real meaning of midsummer, a time as significant as the winter solstice. This year is the start of a long journey as I try to make sense of it all – just as I did with those early Christmas tours.”

So what are the challenges for you in creating Music for Midsummer?

“Last December, at the matinee on the solstice, I managed to engineer it so that I began playing Barrios’s musical prayer in full, bright sunlight and ended it in total darkness (apart from my candles). This was a moment I will never forget and the audience got the significance in all it’s layers – beyond the obvious trick with the timing.”

“It’s not so easy with midsummer because we don’t have the tangled, hyped expectations and emotional depth of Christmas tacked onto the solstice. The world doesn’t stop in June as it does in December – well, not for most people. It does for me on the summer solstice though, just as it does on the equinoxes – maybe I’m just a bit of a weird beard!”

‘My new favourite guitarist…Richard Durrant sits completely outside the accepted genres. He has a peculiar and wonderful mind.’

Tom Robinson, BBC 6 Music

And what sort of music can we expect at Music for Midsummer?

“I’ll be playing my own guitar solo Book of Spells and Bach’s 3rd Cello Suite. I shall also play some British folk contrasted with music from the Tropic of Capricorn with some great pieces from Venezuela and Paraguay. I shall be adding music right up to the wire to try and give us a glimpse inside midsummer. One of the great things about this first tour is that the gigs are spread across a wide area of England and Wales so I get to see the countryside lit by that magical midsummer sun.”

Music for Midsummer 2019

11 May        Exclusive Studio Concert

5 June         Aberystwyth

6 June         Narbeth 

7 June         Kingskerwell

8 June         Baulking

12 June       Bexhill-on-Sea

20 June       Crawley

21 June       Brighton

22 June       Stoke Golding

23 June       Surprise Tour Finale!

Richard Durrant Live

Richard Durrant returns to the Ropetackle Arts Centre on 4 April with a rather special recital featuring a selection of some of the world’s most famous guitar solos.

Richard is currently preparing for two major Ukulele events prior to his Music for Midsummer UKtour which starts on 5 June in Aberystwyth. Before that he will be playing solo, unplugged, un-amplified and down off the stage with music from Europe and South America. So this is an opportunity to keep his hand in with some of the great classic works from the repertoire. 

‘There will always be times when I have to plug in, and this can be very exciting and effective. But, equally, there are times when I want to offer something purer and more direct. This direct, acoustic contact with the audience, the sound of my guitar with fingers on strings and nails articulating emotions, is something I’ve practised and thought about for all of my working life. Federico Lorca was on the case in his poem “Guitar”. It’s a bit melodramatic, but it always does it for me:’

Richard Durrant

The weeping of the guitar begins.

The goblets of dawn are smashed…
It weeps arrow without target
Evening without morning
And the first dead bird
On the branch.
Oh, guitar!
Heart mortally wounded
By five swords.

And it will be as close up and intimate as Richard and his regular stage manager Matt Hodgson can make it at their favourite Arts Venue; the Ropetackle in Shoreham-by-Sea. This will be a programme of real favourites played on six string, concert guitar including music by Lauro, Villa-Lobos, Juan Duarte, Albeniz and Tarrega

Vila-Lobos, Tarrega, Lauro, Albeniz and Jean Duarte
Vila-Lobos, Tarrega, Lauro, Albeniz and Jean Duarte

“Durrant never lets his stunning technique overshadow this wonderful timeless music”

The Sun

Playing un-amplified really allows the unadorned warmth of the instruments to project into a room. Just last Sunday Steve Johnson wrote a piece in the Chicago Tribune entitled ‘Why unamplified music makes for a better live show’ . 

Johnson praises how an un-amplified performance by somebody with the technique to carry it off seems ‘so clearly superior to the average amped show: richer, deeper, more connected.’ He suggests the most affecting performances are the ones that have the least ‘stuff’ in between the performer and the audience… ‘and makes it a communal thing.’

Richard Durrant Live

ROPETACKLE ARTS CENTRE
Shoreham-by-sea, BN43 5EG
4 April 2019 : 7:30 PM – 9:30 PM
TICKETS £5 – £16

Richard Durrant

Richard Durrant’s first ukulele quartet ‘Tan y Bwlch’ is soon to receive its first performance given the instrument a new status in the world of classical music…

Pic: Ukulele Quartet Poster

Since producing The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain’s 2004 album ‘The Secret of Life’, Richard is becoming increasingly influential in the ukulele world. In his 2012 solo tour of Paraguay, he was invited to play unaccompanied Bach on his uke on top of the Itaipu Dam overlooking Brazil, and in 2018 took part in a royal command performance at Buckingham Palace. And his wonderful six-movement ukulele concerto has ‘smuggled the little wooden box into the world of classical music’.

‘Richard’s ukulele compositions are masterful. They’re full of intriguing and catchy musical ideas which transcend the boundaries of academic or popular music – a game changer for the ukulele.’

George Hinchliffe, co-founder of the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain

When Richard was invited to perform at the finale of this summer’s Meet the Ukulele Maker’s Festival he saw it as a great opportunity to write and perform his first ukulele quartet. Set in Plas Tan y Bwlch, a former stately country house in North Wales’s Snowdonia National Park, Richard took its name as the title for his new quartet.

Tan y Bwlch

‘I’ve been visiting Snowdonia for over thirty years and I hope my love for the place comes across in this new music. But you have to understand this is an Englishman’s view – it’s me clutching my uke and gazing in awe at the mountains.’

Richard Durrant

TAN Y BWLCH

The World Première will take place at Ropetackle Arts Centre on Wednesday 27 February performed as part of a concert featuring Richard playing solo guitar, tenor guitar and ukulele. Tan y Bwlch will be performed by the composer plus thirty two of his Ukulele Circuit Trainers.

The performance at MUMF will be on 1 June. Richard is calling for participants who can download the resources online and watch specially prepared instructional videos to prepare for the workshops and performance at the festival

This three movement work can be performed by either four ukulele players, or three groups of players plus a soloist. The two outer movements are written in a minimalist style with intriguing, repeated patterns that suit the four ukuleles perfectly, conjuring up a beautiful, filmic landscape of sound. 

Snowdon Railway
Snowdon Railway

In Durrant’s ingenious score the four ukes perfectly mimic a Welsh train rushing through Snowdonia and there is even a brief interlude where the train pulls into a misty little station to take on water, coal and sandwiches!

In total contrast the middle movement is set to become a huge hit with uke lovers everywhere – it is the ukulele’s very own ’Orange Blossom Special’. But here Durrant is evoking the sound of the famous narrow gauge  Welsh Mountain Railway instead of the American express locomotive of that famous, bluegrass fiddle tune. 

Have a look at the second movement ‘Cledrau’…

Richard Durrant Ukulele Workshops

Welcome to 2019! It’s the perfect time to dust down your Ukulele and brush up on your skills with Richard Durrant’s great series of six-week workshops…

Ukulele virtuoso, composer and sometime Producer of The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain, Richard Durrant brings back his hugely successful ukulele courses. Whether you need to brush up up on your Ukulele skills or are a complete beginner these workshops are for you – whatever your age, experience or ability.

Ukulele Ground Zero

Every Wednesday at 6.30pm 16 January – 20 February 2019
Ropetackle Arts Centre Shoreham-by-Sea, BN43 5EG
£60

Ukulele Circuit Training

Every Wednesday at 8pm
16 January – 20 February 2019
Ropetackle Arts Centre Shoreham-by-Sea, BN43 5EG
£70 – SOLD OUT

Richard’s workshops are held every Wednesday from 16 January to 20 February and are immensely popular with young and old alike…

Workshop participants
Workshop participants


And if you can’t get down to Shoreham-by-Sea, here’s a gift of a 3 months free Academy Passport to the Richard Durrant Academy. Here you will find easy to follow video courses for classical, acoustic and tenor guitar as well as the ukulele and even sight reading music.

This very special 12 Days of Christmas free offer worth £89.85 is only available until the end of January 2019.

How to take advantage of the 12 Days of Christmas offer…

Click on the button above and:

  • Select Academy Passport
  • Click Subscribe then create an account
  • At the checkout click Have a coupon * Enter the code nocharge3mth
  • Click Apply