Guitar hands

In difficult times, many people turn to music. The Italians and Spanish have shown us how to share that love of music from their balconies – even when in self-isolation…

So we thought we should give you a little boost to help get you through these challenging times: the first month on Richard’s online academy is NOWFREE. This is IN ADDITION to the first 7 days free that new subscribers normally receive. 

In the Academy there are in-depth lessons for both nylon and steel string guitar plus tenor guitar and ukulele. There’s even a Guitar Sight Reading module and a brand new series of films on how to learn and perfect a tremolo on classical guitar called “The Complete Guide to Tremolo”. 

Here is a sample film from The Complete Guide to Tremolo featuring Augustin Barrios’ Una Limosna por el amor de Dios.

To get the first month free at the academy click below and select Academy Passport then Subscribe Now.

Create an account and when you get to the checkout click Have a coupon? enter the coupon code loveguitar and click Apply.

You’ll then see a message that shows the coupon has worked. Enter your card details and complete your purchase.

‘This is a genuine gift from me to you with no catches. But please note that after a month and 7 days, monthly payments will start to be taken so you’ll need to cancel before then if you want to avoid this. Of course, if you want to stay longer – you would be very welcome!’

Richard Durrant

FILM YOUR OWN PLAYING

As you may have a little more time on your hands over the coming weeks why not film yourself playing? You can upload these short selfie guitar movies and tag your Facebook and Twitter posts with #loveguitar and @RichardDurrantX

‘Whether you are a beginner, ambitious improver or want to teach me a lesson, let’s see them all! The only poor guitar is the one that isn’t played.’

Richard Durrant

Richard’s diary of events and activities is having to make some adjustments as a result of the current coronavirus situation. Do keep up to date with any date changes or cancellations by checking out his online diary above.

Watch this amazing excerpt from Richard’s new piece Knepp for four ukuleles – part of the premiere to be unveiled on 26 February with cello, hand drummers and electric bass by Shoreham’s maverick musician…

“The re-wilding activities at the Knepp estate near Horsham inspired and informed this new piece. It was conceived at an outdoor gig one perfect summer’s evening back in 2018 playing music with the nightingale. Knepp itself is a wilding site of international significance which, for those who take time to look, contains a lesson for the entire planet.”

Richard

Richard Durrant has also written a six movement ukulele concerto as well as a ukulele quartet. His work is often featured in the UKE Magazine. Click on the image above for more.

But what exactly is the ukulele? And what makes it so different from the guitar?

The ʻukulele originated in the 19th century as a Hawaiian adaptation of the Portuguese Machete – no not the big blade for slashing through the jungle – but a small guitar-like instrument also called the machete de braga or Cavaquinho brought over to Hawaii by Portuguese immigrants, mainly from Madeira and the Azores.

Hawaii’s King Kalākaua was a great patron of the arts and encouraged the use of this new instrument into performances at royal gatherings.

The Hawaiin name ‘ukulele (oo-koo-leh-leh) roughly translates as Jumping Flea, possibly because of the movement of the player’s fingers. This might explain why Ukulele players remember the tuning of the four strings with My Dog has Fleas:

From Hawaii the Ukulele quickly gained great popularity in the USA and around the world and come in all shapes and sizes – most commonly as soprano, concert, tenor, and baritone – between them offering a range greater than that of the guitar:

Through the 20th century the popularity of the instrument took off in the works of jazz and popular music. Eclipsed to some extent by the guitar in this genre, since the 1990’s there has been a huge revival in the ukulele since the 1990’s with a new generation of musicians and In many schools it has become recognised as a great instrument to learn in the classroom – beats the recorder any day!

Did you know…?

Just last year Jake Shimabukuro’s ʻukulele rendition of George Harrison’s ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’ went viral on Youtube receiving over 16 million views! 

George Hinchcliffe’s Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain play and sing music from a variety of musical genres featuring all types of ukuleles.  Richard produced their classic album The Secret of Life back in 2004. Within weeks the band where filmed for Jools Holland’s Hootenanny and appeared on radio and television across Europe.

Pictured: Richard with George Hinchliffe ahead of the forthcoming uke gig at Ropetackle

The band are now an international phenomenon widely credited as being responsible for the global popularity of the uke.

Joining Richard on stage on 26 Feb to perform Knepp will be ukulele mega-star George Hinchcliffe, the ever modest co-founder of The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain. Other players involved in the premiere include Richard’s four children and his wonderful Ukulele Circuit Trainers at the end of their annual six week ukulele course.

The rest of the concert will feature Richard’s solo guitar playing and the first performance of Richard’s Ukulele Quartet No1 Tan y Bwlch (with GeorgeHinchliffe, Mark Allen, Felix St Maur Sheil & Richard Durrant) plus plenty of other musical surprises.


Ukes and All!

26 February 2020, 7.30pm 
Ropetackle Arts Centre, Shoreham-by-Sea, BN43 5EG

A special year ahead for guitarists with the release of a new double album Weald Barrows, a ‘pilgrimage’ concert tour by bicycle from Orkney to Santiago di Compostela, and two amazing weeks of French Guitar Adventurers.

Richard is currently up to his eyeballs in writing and recording the music for Weald Barrows, his fantastic new album with it’s unashamed focus on climate change and European friendship. 

The first releases from this much awaited sequel to Stringhenge will be via BandCamp and social media. More of the tracks will be included in Richard’s gigs in April and May.

Richard Durrant
Weald Barrows image by Jon Everitt

The completed album will be launched on 4 June at St Magnus Cathedral, Orkney at the start of Richard’s biggest yet Cycling Music tour all the way down to Spain.

And in July and September Richard will be staging his hugely popular French Guitar Adventurers holidays for guitarists in the South of France. As usual these are selling fast so get in touch quickly if you fancy taking part. There is room for each guitarist to bring a partner or guest.

Just look at these details from this amazing guitar made from 5,000 year old English black oak by Gary Southwell. In the pics above you’ll notice the patterns inspired by Northumbrian rock carvings. This instrument is particularly special as Richard explains:

‘This guitar was the inspiration behind Stringhenge (2018 double album). The history of the 5,000 year old tree and its spiritual resonances gave me heart and a longer perspective after the political horrors of 2016. I first got the instrument in those terrible months between the Brexit vote and the election of Trump!’

Richard Durrant

Richard featured this wonderful instrument in last November’s Homelink Charity gig at Glyndebourne last November – and thanks to Sam Stephenson for these great photos. Richard played the Bog Oak Bouree:

Happy New Year 2020

A Happy New Year from Richard Durrant and team…

“Following the best ever Christmas tour, work has already started on my new ukulele ensemble piece and the new double album Weald Barrows (the sequel to Stringhenge).

There is a growing list of gigs planned including my longest cycle ride yet from Orkney to Santiago de Compostela.

I’m looking for more cyclists to join me on the European leg of this tour in September. Come and help me draw attention to climate change, raise money for UNICEF and celebrate European friendship and our shared culture.”

Richard Durrant

There really is a fabulous line up of concerts and events this year, so make sure these are on your agenda for 2020…

Ukulele Ground Zero / Circuit Training

15 Jan, 6:30pm & 8.30pm. Ropetackle Arts Centre, Shoreham-by-Sea BN43 5EG

Ukulele Ground Zero

Two parallel six-week courses for ukulele players with maestro Richard Durrant. One is for absolute beginners, the other for players of mixed abilities – plus take part in the concert on 26 Feb.


Ukes and All!

26 Feb, 7:30 pm Ropetackle Arts Centre, Shoreham-by-Sea BN43 5EG

Ukes and All

Richard’s annual ukulele flavoured concert features special guests alongside exquisite guitar solos, an entire Bach Suite on solo uke and the world premiere of an ensemble piece played by Richard’s Ukulele Circuit Trainers 2020.


Richard Durrant

Richard Durrant

24 Apr, 7:30 pm.The Cut Arts Centre, 8 New Cut, Halesworth IP19 8BY
25 Apr, 7:30 pm. Ropetackle Arts Centre, Shoreham-by-Sea BN43 5EG
2 May, 7:30 pm. Scopwick Village Hall, 26 Brookside, ScopwickLincs LN4 3PA
16 May, 7:30 pm. St Thomas Church, Lymington Hampshire SO41 9ND

The acclaimed guitarist, composer and ukulele virtuoso Richard Durrant returns to The Cut to perform new music from the forthcoming Stringhenge album sequel: Weald Barrows


Music for Midsummer

4 Jun, 7:30 pm. St Magnus Cathedral, Broad Street, Kirkwall KW15 1NX
12 Jun, 8:00 pm. Upfront Gallery and Theatre, Unthank, Penrith CA11 9TG
13 Jun, 7:30 pm. Georgian Theatre Royal, Victoria Road, Richmond DL10 4DW
14 Jun, 7:30 pm. National Centre for Early Music, St Margaret’s Church York YO1 9TL
16 Jun, 7:30 pm. St Mary Church, 14 Church St, Edwinstowe, Mansfield NG21 9QA
19 Jun, 8:00 pm. The Stables, Stockwell Lane, Milton Keynes MK17 8LU
21 Jun, 3:00 pm. BOAT, 27 Hove Park Road, Hove BN3 6LH
28 Jun, 7.00 pm. St John The Baptist, Clayton, Hassocks BN6 9PQ

Music for Midsummer

Richard begins his Midsummer Tour with the launch of his new album Weald Barrows in St Magnus Cathedral, Orkney. Attempting to keep his tour as carbon neutral as possible he will then cycle between gigs carrying his gear all the way to Brighton for the Summer Solstice.

The tour continues in September with concerts from Dieppe to Santiago de Compostela. Don’t forget, if you would like to join the tour and cycle with Richard in Europe please email info@richarddurrant.com


French Guitar Adventurers

6-12 Jul. The French Retreat, La Loge Yviers, Charente, 16210 France
21-27 Sep. The French Retreat, La Loge Yviers, Charente, 16210 France

Richard Durrant’s French Guitar Adventurers holidays are for classical and acoustic players of mixed styles and abilities.


Richard Durrant’s Summer Special

17 Jul, 7:30 pm. Ropetackle Arts Centre, Shoreham-by-Sea BN43 5EG

Summer Special Concert

Richard’s fun annual Summer special concert celebrates the start of the Summer Holidays. A variety of music with special guests.

…. and a seasonal Christmas offer too!

As a thank you for visiting Richard’s website here is a Special Christmas Offer: 15% off all albums and books from his online shop.

To claim the discount please use code RDChristmas2019 (valid until 20th December 2019)

2019 Christmas rehearsal

Just a reminder that if you haven’t caught up with this years Candlelit Christmas Concert there are just four more shows left.

Richard hopes that matters both worldly and spiritual, natural and super-natural, the sacred and the profane, are reflected in this amazing candlelit tour.

All the music and songs have been chosen to create a beautiful space in which the audiences can find some peace and good energy.


Richard Durrant Candlelit Christmas Concert 2019

19 December
8:00 pm – 10:00 pm
Trinity Theatre
Church Road, Royal Tunbridge Wells, TN1 1J

20 December
7:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Theatr Clwyd Mold
Flintshire CH7 1Y

21 December
2:30 pm – 4:30 pm
St Mary & St Peter’s Church
Wilmington, BN26 5SW
Sold out!

21 December
7:30 pm – 9:30 pm
St Mary & St Peter’s Church
Wilmington, BN26 5SW
Sold out!


And if you are still short of some Christmas present ideas how about these:

  • Richard’s popular Ukulele Courses for both Beginners and Improvers – beginning on Wednesday 15 January
  • A place on the French Guitar Adventurers holidays 2020 – but hurry as places are going fast
  • Monthly subscription to the Richard Durrant Academy for just £19.99 – access courses on acoustic guitar, classical guitar, tenor guitar and ukulele

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…