Rewilding

After eight months in the studio Richard Durrant has finally completed work on his forthcoming album: Rewilding…

Richard at Knepp with ecologist Penny Green and soil specialist David Sheil

Now renamed Rewilding, this single album will be available on vinyl as a limited edition gatefold with artwork by the English “unrealist’ artist, Jon Everitt.  Although there are no plans for a CD release, the album will be widely available to stream or download including hi-rez audio formats (included in the vinyl price).

Unsurprisingly, this is a very different outcome to what was originally planned back in 2019.  

“The enormity of what we are all living through has, of course, deeply affected my work. Lockdown came at a time when I should have been finishing and launching an album followed by a busy and exciting tour.

“Instead the entire year was cancelled and what I had begun to record became all that was left. The music was immediately under intense scrutiny and the soul searching began.

Richard

The album’s focus on ecological issues are unchanged as is the sense of place with the Sussex countryside centre stage. 

The internationally famous re-wilding project taking place at the Knepp estate just outside Horsham has proved a particular inspiration.

This was where Richard was invited to play a gig with folk musician Sam Lee and one of the virtuoso Knepp nightingales back in 2018.

“Knepp allows us to see how nature can rebalance, realign and refresh; if we stand back to allow the process to unfold then this can happen fairly swiftly both above and below ground.

These results have proved surprising even to those in specialised areas and the benefits offered provide an incentive to reassess and change for the better. This is not just nature quietly offering to teach those who care to look, it is also a beacon of hope for humankind.

Richard

Rewilding the album is a musical fantasy led by guitars, ukuleles and cello. These instruments and many others are played by Richard himself. He is also joined by the incredible Brian Gulland from Gryphon on bassoons, recorders, organ and crumhorns.

Old friend and percussionist Stephen Hiscock plays various exotic percussion instruments and the Durrant family not only play but have helped out by engineering on some fairly intense recording sessions!

Side one takes place above ground with four tracks:
Aurochs, Forr All Mannkinne Nede, Knepp and Leaf

Side two is set below ground with three tracks:
Step Gently, Triskelion and Big Fat Earth Worm.

And coming up…

Don’t forget Richard has live performances coming up soon. This will be his first gig since February. See his diary for details.

Richard Durrant returns to the live stage with a special Open Air Harvest Concert to celebrate late summer…

On Saturday 5 September Richard Durrant will be playing a special, open air gig to celebrate the late summer.  This family friendly event will be held in the safest possible environment, a huge, beautiful field underneath the South Downs near the village of Albourne, Sussex.

Richard will play an extended, wide ranging solo set of music on his beloved bog oak concert guitar, tenor guitar and ukulele.

Gates open at 2pm with the support act The Kites (singer songwriting trio) at 3pm. Richard will be onstage from 4pm.

Richard Durrant’s Open Air Harvest Concert
North Park Farm, Church Lane, Albourne, BN6 9BY

  • Safely marked out areas for the audience with clear social distancing
  • BYO picnics
  • BYO gazebos (3m x 3m pitch) – extra £5 charge
  • Bar
  • Pizzas
  • Hand sanitisers
  • Toilets
  • Crowd flow directions
  • Car parking.
Richard on the main stage at Beautiful Days 2018 – during easier times!

“This will be my first gig in front of an audience since February, and for all we know it may be the last for some time to come. Sharing music with others has been a constant in my life and to say I’m excited to play again doesn’t begin to describe how I feel. 

Certainly the positive energy that a live audience shares amongst themselves and with the performer is something I crave, it’s as if there is a generosity of human spirit that becomes tangible as the music unfolds.”

Richard Durrant

The audience can enjoy the concert as an individual or as a bubble (2 to 6 people) or a double bubble. Both of which are now considered safe. 

You are also welcome to bring your own food and drink.

Friday 3 July saw the release of Richard Durrant’s single Kenneth the Hedge. This is a remix of the stand-out track from Richard’s 2018 double album Stringhenge…

Complete with new vocals, bass and percussion Kenneth comes with the equally revamped B side containing The Bog Oak Boureé. Both tracks are being released as part of the build up for the forthcoming album Rewilding.

Please show your support by visiting:

Last Sunday night saw the completion of Richard’s Music For Midsummer Tour with 14 livestream broadcasts direct from Richard’s studio.

This virtual tour which was focussed on each venue from Orkney to Sussex is still available to watch online – visit Richard’s Facebook or YouTube channels.

Music for Midsummer

Alongside the challenges brought to us all by 2020, this year has also brought moments of extraordinary inspiration. Richard explains:

‘Faced with the loss of an entire year’s touring we decided to try as hard as we could to stay in touch with both the venues and my audience. And whilst friendships and the love of music were never at stake,  livelihoods and the future of venues and artists most definitely are so the live-streaming project felt very positive.’

Richard Durrant

Richard and Louise run all touring and recording from their home and studio in Shoreham. This little cottage industry has sent Richard out around the British Isles, across to Europe and South America to play solo concerts, Christmas tours and concertos with orchestras for the past 21 years.

During this time the studio has also seen the production of all Richard’s albums and scores along with recordings by a host of other musicians produced by Richard during the days of LongMan Records. Now, as with so many involved in the arts, none of this activity qualifies for direct government support

‘Working on my new album has filled the void left by the abrupt cancellation of all my touring. And inspiration has not been in short supply as we witness fascinating changes of perspective in the climate change debate, the positivity of the Black Lives Matter movement and the real hope that the world will never be the same again.’

Richard

Richard would like to thank you all for your ongoing support and encouragement. He looks forward to seeing you in person in the not too distant future.


Join Richard on Saturday 30 May at 7pm for his next Livestreamed Concert on YouTube and FacebookLive.

See the trailer for Saturday’s show here: 

The next in this fortnightly series features music from Richard’s highly acclaimed, 2018 double album Stringhenge. The album was launched at the start of a bicycle powered concert tour from St Magnus Cathedral Orkney to Brighton Open Air Theatre.

This fortnight’s concert comes at what would have been the start of an even more intrepid bicycle concert tour starting once again in the Cathedral on Orkney but this time taking Richard all the way to Santiago de Compostela in north west Spain.  

Richard’s very individual take on JS Bach and other originals is performed on a guitar made from an English black oak tree that was growing more than 5,000 years ago and then preserved in the anaerobic mud of East Anglia.

This amazing instrument was built by the renowned luthier Gary Southwell – the Lincolnshire Luthier – and was one of the main inspirations for Stringhenge. 

Says Richard:

‘This guitar has an almost sacred presence and Stringhenge grew out of my relationship with it. It led me to commission the Uffington Tenor Guitar from Ian Chisholm, to write loads of new music and to gather the images for an entirely new show.’


The concerts on the 2020 tour have been rescheduled for 2021. But in this Saturday’s 45 minute concert you can hear some of the wonderful music from the album. The concert will be followed by a 15 minute Q&A giving the audience an opportunity to find out more about the music, the inspiration and the instruments.

This next concert in the series will be broadcast live at 7pm on Saturday on YouTube and Facebook
Just click on one of the links to join Richard…

We would be delighted if you would buy a ticket for this concert from £5 upwards. You can also support this project during or after the event.

Just click on the button below for details…

Weald Barrows

From every Sunday you can tune in – and switch off – with Richard Durrant’s weekly midday musical meditation on Richard’s YouTube channel.

This first offering is a little guitar piece from early 17th century Spain: Pavanas by Gaspar Sanz. It was recorded on Easter Sunday, in Richard’s studio in Sussex, England. We hope it brings you feelings of peace, love and positivity.

“My playing has helped me find peace and calm throughout my life, now seems a good time to try and share these feelings.

Says Richard

If you haven’t done so already then please subscribe to Richard’s channel. Subscribe now.


Changes to diary

Due to the current lockdown and uncertainty that the Coronavirus has caused Richard has taken the decision to move his Music For Midsummer Cycling Tour.

All concert dates from Orkney to Sussex are being rebooked and will be displayed on the website.

Although some concerts in late June may still take place if restrictions are lifted, the full tour is now postponed until 2021.

Weald Barrows – new album update

Richard has been able to devote more time than ever to working on his forthcoming double album Weald Barrows.

Please note that the album release date may be slightly delayed due to the difficulty of guest musicians recording their contributions. We are now aiming for a release date in July.  

Thanks to those of you that have already ordered your copies in advance – these orders are more important than ever now, especially with the postponement of the tour.

Click here to order your copy and help with the production costs.


In the meantime Richard and Louise thank you for your support. Please stay safe and take care!

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.