The final week of the tour was wonderfully busy with Richard Durrant giving five performances from Lincolnshire right down to Sussex. 

Continue the story of his amazing Music for Midsummer journey…

And as the sun rose on the Summer Solstice the immersive audio version of the new album The Sleep of a King went live on all streaming platforms and Richard found himself in Guildford preparing for his open air concert at YA Theatre Guildford

The next morning Richard headed for the south coast, pleased to be heading straight towards his beloved Sussex downs. With his fitness well established and the bike and trailer nicely in trim the miles appeared to whizz by easier than before.

Daughter Daisy took this snap of her excited Dad by the wooden heron in Shoreham where 25 years earlier Richard had played at the unveiling of the sculpture along with children from Heronsdale School.

Richard’s next, and rather important stop off, was to see his trusted nail technician Amy… 

My nails had survived all the gigs so far – but I was pleased and relieved to be able to visit Amy on my way through Shoreham. Amy coats my nails with a protective gel and she’s earned my trust over many years. I won’t let anybody else near my nails!

Said Richard

And then it was onto Brighton Open Air Theatre for another Solstice celebration. This time with Richard’s home crowd.

And the tour continues with Richard cycling out from Shoreham for his four remaining shows in Tunbridge Wells tonight, Clayton (Sold Out), Bexhill-on-Sea (part of Bexhill Festival of Music) and the Summer Tour finale at Ropetackle at the end of July.

And the tour continues with Richard cycling out from Shoreham for his four remaining shows…

Catch up with Music for Midsummer in Tunbridge Wells tonightClayton (Sold Out), Bexhill-on-Sea (part of Bexhill Festival of Music) and the Summer Tour finale at Ropetackle at the end of July.

Cycle with Richard

How about joining Richard on his cycle from Shoreham to Bexhill on Sea and see his concert at Bexhill Festival of Music? 

Book your tickets below and meet Richard and the Durrant’s family run Pollinator Cafe, Forthaven BN43 5HY at 8.30am on Weds 29 June. Departure will be around 9am after coffee and croissants!

Please note: You will have to be responsible for yourself and your own bike if you take part in this event.. Richard will set off and head for the concert at his own speed. The distance is approx 44 miles.Richard’s average speed fully laden is 11mph.

Richard Durrant

Even three days of relentless winds plus numbed hands has failed to prevent Richard Durrant from appearing on stage on time. Follow the story of his amazing Music for Midsummer journey…

Under Cumbrian Skies

My Aurelius tour bike with its troublesome truck is actually a slick, well planned machine; carefully trimmed and perfectly packed it will munch up the miles. From Orkney to Edinburgh I was able to average 11mph which, with the load I’m carrying, is fairly respectable.”

Says Richard

But then things took a turn for the worse: For three unforgettable days, the wind changed everything. Pedalling to go down a hill as well as up made even 7mph a struggle. Ride times increased and Richard started to feel felt battered and tired.

More seriously, this began to take its toll on his hands: Onstage in Cumbria his left hand 3rd and 4th finger were without feeling and ‘disobeying orders’. The same happened in Lancaster Priory with some of the bigger guitar pieces requiring a super human effort. 

Under Yorkshire Skies

Sunday was a better day but Richard’s wife, Louise and his good friend Gary Southwell – the famous luthier and creator of the bog oak guitar – had different ideas.

Ultimately Gary found me on the A65 halfway between Lancaster and York and talked me and the bicycle into the back of his Land Rover. I was delivered to NCEM York and told to take a deep breath, have a cup of tea and get my hands working again.

Explains Richard
Bog Oak Guitar

Fortunately, Richard obeyed orders from his loved ones so was able to work on reviving his hands.

It turned out to be the most wonderful gig imaginable with a big crowd, friends old and new, and a surprise chance to play an encore on a rare Gary Southwell, bog oak, steel strung guitar (pictured).

Towards Southern Skies

Now the tour continues its journey South toward Midsummer including performances at The Stables Milton Keynes, Yvonne Arnuad Theatre Guildford, Brighton Open Air Theatre (pictured) and Trinity Theatre, Tunbridge Wells.

Music for Midsummer 2022 map

And don’t forget that the immersive audio ‘Binaural Headphone Mix’ of The Sleep of a King goes live on all streaming platforms from sunrise on the Summer Solstice (21 June).

Richard on ferry to Orkney

As Richard Durrant began his Music for Midsummer musical, cycling pilgrimage on Orkney, the sun broke out during the ferry crossing and stayed for the entire visit.

First stop was Stromness Academy to meet some of the music students:

Stromness Academy

Next, Richard took the Bog Oak guitar to the Ring of Brodgar. The plan was to introduce the neolithic timber to the neolithic stones – and then perhaps play a piece of music. The guitar had other ideas…

The concert in St Magnus Cathedral was a huge success attended by a large audience.

Early the next morning Richard returned to the Scottish mainland to begin his journey south for concerts in Inverness, Dundee and Greyfriars Edinburgh.

‘It’s been fascinating playing a concert containing so much of my own music. It makes me dig deep to find the colours and the clarity of phrasing to draw people in. This is because I know it’s the audience’s first listening.’

Says Richard

The tour continued as Richard crossed the border heading for Upfront near Penrith, Cumbria for the Friday night show.

On Saturday 11th June he’ll be at Lancaster Priory, then a huge ride is needed to get him to the National Centre for Early Music in York for Sunday’s evening concert on 12 June.

The challenge of the ride!
Richard will have covered well over 1,000 miles by the time the tour is completed.  The early stages were not without problems due to the amount of weight the bike has to carry.  

On two separate occasions Richard had to find a welding shop to repair the luggage rack fixings and then, by Dundee, the trailer couplings were in need of attention.  

But as the ride progressed the Aurelius bicycle found its balance and began to feel well trimmed and more than happy to purr its way through the miles.

Cycling through the British Isles has strongly reminded me of my early days as a vegetarian – everything has to be carefully planned because nothing is going to be easy and most people will express either surprise or total bafflement.  The connections continue: first, we can’t continue to travel by burning fossil fuels and, second, the planet will starve or overheat if we continue to depend on a diet of animal protein.

Added Richard
Richard Durrant bike

Preparations are well underway as Richard Durrant prepares to catch the early train on Monday 30 May for the start of his mammoth Midsummer Cycling Concert Tour from Orkney to Bexhill-on-Sea… 

Richard has just a few days left to cycle around the Sussex lanes (carrying a giant log in his trailer!) before handing his bike over to the Giant Cycles shop in Shoreham for a last check over before packaging it up and shipping it north in time for the ferry to Orkney. 

Thanks are due to to Tim and the team at Giant Cycles who have been fantastic!

The excitement of Richard’s first summer tour in three years is matched by the sheer joy of undertaking it by bicycle for the fourth time.

‘Cycling and playing solo is actually very practical. I simply get on my bike and head for the next venue; there’s no pollution, no complexities, just pedals. The bike also looks beautiful on stage where it becomes an unexpected and intriguing work of art, equally at home in a theatre or cathedral!’

Says Richard
Music for Midsummer Souvenir Programme

Be part of his epic journey on social media…

Follow him on Facebook or instagram

The Midsummer Tour Souvenir Programme is now available from the SHOP at £6 in the hope that you will pre-order to save weight on the bicycle!

This sumptuous 12 page programme will accompany the tour from Orkney to Sussex.

The Sleep of a King

The Midsummer Tour Souvenir Programme is packed full of insights and information with Richard’s own programme notes, album artwork by Jon Everitt and photos by wildlife photographer David Bailey who also designed the programme.

The Sleep of a King is available on Spotify and all other streaming platforms at 4.09am on 2 June (sunrise on Orkney). The binaural, immersive audio headphone mix goes live on all streaming platforms at 4.46am (sunrise in Guildford).

This is the first album made up entirely of Richard’s own solo guitar compositions inspired by the landscape and shared history of The British Isles.

Sleep of a King

Richard Durrant’s mammoth midsummer cycling concert tour will feature all the music from The Sleep of a King. This is part of the release of his new solo album made up entirely of his own guitar solos…

Recorded recently in St Botolph’s Church, a tiny, Saxon church on the South Downs Way next to the river Adur, the album recordings were captured by the pioneering sound engineer Matt Saunders using an array of specialist mics.

Matt was sound technician at the Royal College of Music when Richard was a student. His recent projects recording Evan Parker and Lawrence Casserley have been typically experimental.

It is a fantastic experience hearing music recorded in this way. You feel exactly as if you are in the church with the sound high above and behind you and the guitar ideally placed just in front of you.”

Says Richard
Sound engineer Matt Saunders, Jon Everitt who has again produced the artwork for this project, Richard Durrant and Howard Beach, fellow musician who supervised the takes and kept an eye on the musical scores.

The tour programme starts with Bach’s entire 3rd Cello Suite on the ukulele following by the music from the album. The title track, The Sleep of a King is in three parts in the form of three dreams:

Although there is something English going on here (the King asleep under the hill) I also wanted to give names to the King’s dreams. Invocation, Supplication and Submission are my idealised choices.”

Added Richard

The recording will be available in various immersive audio formats including binaural audio – a fully immersive audio format designed for headphones – as well as conventional stereo. CD and vinyl releases are being planned to follow.

In addition to The Sleep of a King, the album will also include Book of a Spells. This is an interesting collection of strongly melodic episodes, each representing different spells: a spell to mesmerise, one to create good fortune, a spell to call a halt etc.

Also on the album is a new recording of The Crest The Coombe The Twittena celebration of the downs around Brighton – see video below.

Music for Midsummer 2022

Summer might still feel a little way off, but tickets are already on sale for Richard Durrant’s 2022 Music for Midsummer Tour from Orkney to England’s South Coast…

Cycling the length of Scotland and England to reduce his carbon footprint, Richard will be travelling between venues by bicycle carrying his instruments on a trailer.

Now in its eighth year, this 27-day Music for Midsummer tour begins on 2 June in the magnificent venue of St Magnus Cathedral on Orkney. 

It will conclude the week following the summer solstice with a performance at Brighton Open Air Theatre with further concerts in Sussex and Kent. 

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

Tom Robinson, BBC6 Music

Concerts will feature Richard’s Sussex downland inspired The Crest, The Coombe, The Twitten and the richly melodic Book of Spells. These will be performed on a concert guitar made from a 5,000 year old English oak.

Also included in the programme will be unaccompanied Bach played on a ukulele made from cedar rescued from the Oregon ‘Biscuit Fire’. 

“Richard’s album Rewilding is beyond beautiful.”

Isabella Tree, best-selling author
French Guitar Adventurers

Fancy a week away in the French sunshine? Well, you’d better be quick because the first of Richard’s two French Guitars Adventurers holidays is already sold out…

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

It takes place in July and September each year in the South of France.

Up to 10 guitarists spend a week together developing musical and technical ideas and working towards an end of week concert. 

‘Guitarists of all abilities and experience gather together in the most beautiful place to share their love of music and develop their technique. We are well looked after with great food and we have a lot of fun!’

Richard says

Here are two examples written for the folks from last September’s FGA – the first since the pandemic:

Firstly, have a listen to this arrangement of The Wedding by Abullah Ibrahim.

And here is Richard’s own Fête du Feu.

Spaces are now only available for the 12-18 September week and participants are welcome to bring a guest.

Trinity stage at Tunbridge Wells

What a fantastic tour this has been and how wonderful to be back on the road and playing to a live audience again! Above is a great pic of the Trinity stage in Tunbridge Wells during the Get-In.

Just a couple more performances to go culminating in two shows at St Mary’s & St Peter’s Church in Wilmington on Tuesday 21 Decembersee diary for details.

Candlelit Christmas Concert

One of the highlights of this show has been a magical new song by band member Django Durrant. Is It All For Christmas? Making some thoughtful observations on the commercial aspects of Christmas, a wintry musical landscape is supplied by the other members of the band.

Django says: ‘It was great to make this recording halfway through the tour – especially after a few gigs!’

Django & Felix Durrant
Pictured above are Django with bass playing brother Felix who is also on the Christmas tour

Midwinter Christmas Collection

And if you love the show, especially if you can’t get there this year, The Midwinter Christmas Collection is the next best thing. 

This is a seasonal collection of Richard’s best wintry, acoustic tracks. The Midwinter Christmas Collection includes contributions from Nick Pynn, Brian Gulland, Django Durrant as well as the beautiful voice of Amy Kakoura.

Available as high quality downloads in our SHOP and also on SPOTIFY.

Brimful of technically impressive guitar playing on the folk / classical cusp.

The Independent

Running for two weeks from Thursday 2 December across England and Wales, this will be the first live tour for nearly two years.

Richard Durrant’s Christmas Candlelit Tour promises a welcome seasonal feast with Christmas songs and wintry Folk, traditional carols and solo guitar music – plus a few surprises!

The picture above shows Richard, Brian, Amy, Felix and Django rehearsing ahead of the tour starting on Thursday.

A new setting of Christina Rossetti’s poem

This year’s programme will include the Harold Darke arrangement of In the Bleak Midwinter – that most famous setting of Christina Rossetti’s words – plus Richard has also written his own setting of another Rossetti poem.  

This brand new piece, called Ice Garden, will be sung by Amy Kakoura and Richard accompanied by Richard’s classical guitar and Brian Gulland’s bassoon.

Other Durrant originals included in the set are Richard’s Christmas in Our TownThe Haw Frost Song (co-written with daughter Daisy) and Django’s Is it all for Christmas?

The combination of instruments is also rather interesting, perhaps unique! Certainly wintry…

  • RICHARD is playing classical, acoustic and tenor guitars as well as cello. 
  • BRIAN will play crumhorn, bassoon, keyboards and a selection of recorders and whistles.
  • The youngest member of the band, Richard’s son FELIX,will leave his double bass at home in favour of his Fender Jazz bass guitar, but he will also double on keyboards.
  • And Felix’s brother DJANGO has made himself a drum kit incorporating cajon (with a kick drum pedal) and glockenspiel. 
  • The band will join lead singer AMY for additional vocals in the ‘SATB’ carols (Soprano, Alto, Tenor and Bass).
Bog Oak Guitar

How did a lump of ancient wood, buried for 5,000 years in an English bog, become an exquisite and adored musical instrument?

Richard Durrant has teamed up with friend, film-maker and former BBC presenter Neil Pringle to make a short documentary about the story of a unique classical guitar.  

How exactly did a huge Fenland black oak tree, which fell and lay undisturbed in the silt of the flooded forest floor for 5,000 years, end up making music in the 21st century?…

The 30-minute film follows Richard on a journey around England, meeting the cabinet-maker Hamish Low who saved and preserved the wood, and the luthier Gary Southwell (pictured) who lovingly transformed the precious timber into a remarkable and beautiful musical instrument. 

A wonderfully interesting and inspiring film. Superb quality… and Richard still playing as beautifully as ever.’

Gordon Giltrap MBE, English guitarist and composer

Also featured are on-location and studio performances of some of Richard’s own compositions, including: 

  • Step Gently from the album Rewilding
  • an excerpt from Book of Spells
  • The Bog Oak Bouree from the album Stringhenge.
Richard with cabinetmaker Hamish Low

Bog Oak Guitar is a fascinating and engaging story, which celebrates an extraordinary piece of England’s natural history, and shines a light on the incredible talents of three passionate men.