Midwinter - Christmas

Richard’s new Christmas song Christmas in Our Town has just been recorded and we are giving it to you free! Just click here to hear this wonderful new song.

The new song features Richard’s regular Christmas chums Nick Pynn and Amy Kakoura with son Django Durrant on percussion.

2019 Christmas rehearsal

Richard’s entire collection of Christmas music is now available as an album download on BandCamp and it will appear on all digital platforms in the next ten days. This new release is called The Midwinter Christmas Collection and it’s a compilation of his best Christmas recordings. 

Richard’s Christmas tour starts this Sunday at the Ropetackle and tickets are selling faster than ever before.

“‘Over the 15 years of this tour it has become more focussed on one thing – my hope that people experience the peace and tranquility of midwinter, even if only for a moment.

“As we head for the darkest part of the year the natural world is asking us to pause and consider – this, for me, is the central message of Christmas and of the solstice. It’s also what my new song is about.’”

Richard Durrant

To celebrate advent and the approach of midwinter Richard is also releasing four short films on each of the four Sundays leading up to Christmas.

Each film will appear on Richard’s Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Instagram as well as in the free section of the Richard Durrant Academy. They all feature the very beautiful guitar technique known as tremolo. 


And if you still haven’t got your Candlelit Christmas tickets just click on the map for more details…

And don’t forget our Special Christmas Offer with 15% off all albums & books from the website.
Please use code RDChristmas2019 when booking (valid until 20th December 2019)

2019 Christmas rehearsal

Richard Durrant has just finished a four day rehearsal with Amy Kakoura and Nick Pynn plus new band member Django Durrant who is joining them on percussion.

“It was our first meeting of the winter and we spent many hours blowing on the kindling of the season, singing, playing and chatting about music and Christmas.

“There was a lot of laughter, many new numbers and my new song Christmas in Our Town was nervously unveiled. Working with these wonderful friends is such a privilege, they’re not just great musicians, they have a generosity of spirit that makes this a special tour for all involved.”

Richard Durrant commenting on the rehearsals

In both Richard’s Solstice tours this year he has tried more than ever to focus on the two sides of these seasons – matters both worldly and spiritual, natural and super-natural, the sacred and the profane.  

Richard hopes this is reflected in his candlelit tour this winter and that the music and songs they’ve chosen will create a beautiful space in which the audiences can find some peace and good energy.


Richard would also like to share with you the a recent rehearsal of his new song Christmas in Our Town.

“It’s still a work in progress, but I love the fact that my son Django is playing percussion whilst his younger brother Felix captures the whole thing on an iphone including the sound.

“Well done boys – and special thanks also to Amy and Nick who let me publish this film even though we’re all still trying to remember the words and the notes!”

Richard Durrant

ChristmasInOurTownRehearsal2019

The Christmas Tour starts with two performances at Ropetackle Arts Centre, Shoreham, on the first day of Advent (1st December) and then off we go! 

Click on the map for more details on each show…

Richard Durrant

… and some carefully prepared magic in significant places!

Richard Durrant’s Christmas concerts are a bit of a tradition – especially for Richard! He gets to meet up with his mates Nick and Amy and the three of them spend long days preparing in the warmth of his studio playing seasonal music.  

We know that lots of audience members also enjoy the tradition – and a strong part of this is returning to regular venues that offer that extra bit of magic.

Wilmington church in Sussex at sunset on the day of the solstice certainly takes some beating.

But then so does the splendour of Theatr Clwyd, a major arts centre, theatre and producing house standing in the hills near Mold in North Wales. 

The beautiful Toll Gavel in the town of Beverley, Yorkshire, Trinity Theatre, Tunbridge Wells and St Johns in Hurst Green Surrey are also part of this tradition, along with Richard’s home venue Ropetackle Arts Centre in Shoreham where there will be four shows this year (already selling fast!).

And this year sees the addition of another Sussex Church – Holy Trinity in Hurstpierpoint.

Holy Trinity Church, Hurstpierpoint, West Sussex

As was recently said on BBC 6 Music: 
‘A beautiful venue can elevate a good gig to a transportive musical experience.’

Richard Durrant Candlelit Christmas Concert 2019

And Richard agrees:

‘Each instrument, every light and every candle will have been carefully placed by Nick, Amy and I before we fill the space with music during our several hours of careful warming up.

‘This is to help every audience member feel they are walking into something magically prepared.
Christmas and the winter solstice do the rest!’


From Yorkshire to Sussex and from North Wales to Kent, Richard Durrant’s Candlelit Christmas Concert is travelling across England and Wales to bring his unique brand of seasonal magic to a venue near you.

We look forward to seeing you on the tour!

Click on the map for more details on each show…

Maverick musician, guitarist and songwriter Richard Durrant will soon be embarking on his 15th midwinter tour. Has he discovered the true meaning of Midwinter?

If you don’t fancy yet another panto and are actively trying to avoid the more saccharine, tinselly aspects of the Christmas season then Richard Durrant’s candlelit Christmas tour is definitely the right choice for you.

Richard is renowned for mixing things up musically.He sees the festive season through both a Pagan as well as a Christian lens.

This is what Richard has to say on the subject :

I love midwinter and I carefully mark the solstice but I’m also fascinated by the Christian celebration of Christmas. And then there’s the impossibly diverse music that re-emerges each year.

‘As the night’s draw I’m just as likely to listen to a 12th century carol as I am to Christmas chart pop – it all resonates!’ 


Last year the trio’s live version of XTC’s Love on a Farmboy’s Wagesproved such a curiosity that it was aired on BBC6 Music.  This led to a small collection of live recordings from Christmas 2018 to be released during the tour.

With the help of his regular winter companions the singer Amy Kakoura and master fiddler Nick Pynn (who will also play dulcimer, musical saw and bass pedals) Richard’s 2019 tour is musically richer than ever. 

Richard Durrant, Amy and Nick
Richard Durrant, Amy and Nick

With virtuoso guitar solos, the oldest song in the Oxford Book of Carols, Breton folk, British fiddle tunes and some well chosen curiosities from the charts – and all played behind shimmering candlelight – these seasonal concerts draw the audience closer in to the music – and the meaning behind it.

Richard Durrant Candlelit Christmas Concert 2019

Join Richard, Amy and Nick for a wonderful musical offering with its very particular and inclusive take on our shared wintertime with Christmas, the Solstice and an inherent, heartfelt generosity, warmth and optimism at the very heart of the show.

From Yorkshire to Sussex and from North Wales to Kent, Richard Durrant’s Candlelit Christmas Concert is travelling across England and Wales to bring his unique brand of seasonal magic to a venue near you.

We look forward to seeing you on the tour!


Click on the map for more details on each show…

Guitarists

Richard Durrant is currently in the south of France working with this September’s French Guitar Adventurers…

Richard’s road trip south began with a one off, solo concert in the town of Melle, east of La Rochelle.  The Cafe Boulevard is a hugely well supported arts venue that puts on a wide variety of different music and in the balmy heat of last Saturday evening they were having to turn people away from Richard’s gig.

Richard takes up the story: “To my delight the temperature was rising fast and the sun was beating down as we drove south. But on reaching Melle, and with the gig start time fast approaching, I realised I was probably going to roast onstage and began to regret wearing my jeans and heavy cotton shirt.  

“Sure enough by the time I got to the stage I was already drenched and with the audience packed in shoulder to shoulder it must have been over 40 degrees in there! This could have been a problem – but at the Cafe Boulevard there was some kind of magic in the air that made it all ok.”

 The atmosphere that night was electric and Richard worked his way around his four guitars and ukulele swapping styles as he went.  A real highlight was his hot club rendition of Django’s Honeysuckle Rose which an audience member captured on a phone:

Django in Melle Sept 2019 from Revolution Arts on Vimeo.

Richard will return to Melle next year as he cycles through France during his Cycling Music Tour 2020. He’ll leave Orkney in early June and appear at Brighton Open Air Theatre on Midsummer’s Day. 

Then, continuing south from Dieppe to Bordeaux in September, he’ll pause along the way to host another French Guitar Adventurers holiday at The French Retreat. If you would like to cycle through France with Richard please contact us.

French Guitar Adventurers

Richard Durrant has been enjoying a busy time leading up to the summer holidays…

The first part of July was spent in France and Richard’s first stop was to perform his final Midsummer Concert in the beautiful Eglise Saint Chartier de Javarzay as part of the Chef- Boutonne town festival.

George Hinchcliffe with Richard and Louise

“This was my debut concert in Nouvelle Aquatainne. It was in the mid thirties which suited me fine; there is something charismatic about such intense heat and it added more layers to the music I was playing.

“The acoustic in the church also gave me a lot to play with so I was a happy boy, especially during the 3rd Cello Suite on the Howlett super tenor ukulele which definitely caused a great deal of surprise but went down a storm,”
said Richard.

And look who came to the gig – Richard’s old mate George Hinchliffe from the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain. George happened to be on his hols and saw a poster!


The French Guitar Adventurers with Richard this month

Richard & Louise then headed further south towards Bordeaux for the July French Guitar Adventurers holiday.

Five happy days were spent in a lovely cool barn by a field of sunflowers preparing for the end of holiday concert in the ancient church in Yviers.

The gig was the best yet and the very local, French audience continues to grow.

“It is lovely that the locals have taken our antics to heart and turn out in force to see what we’re up to,” said Richard.

“I felt very lucky to be spending a week with such lovely people. All the guitarists put their heart and soul into the music. The result was a wonderful concert at the end of the week and a lot of fun.”

Richard is running another French Guitar Adventurer from 16 to 22 September and there are a few spaces remaining. Next year’s dates have been announced and are already filling up – click on button below to see the diary.

Below is one of the pieces performed at this July’s French Guitar Adventurers holiday

Happy summer holidays!

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/