Music for Midsummer at Brighton Open Theatre

There is just one final concert at the Ropetackle Arts Centre in Shoreham on 28 July with a musical celebration to begin the summer holidays…

Richard says: 
Thanks to all who came to see me during my Music for Midsummer Tour 2023.  It was a dusty, sun-drenched adventure of satisfyingly diverse gigs. I travelled through some of the most beautiful countryside of any tour so far and met some remarkable people on the roadside and at the shows.

After the ride from North Wales to South Devon via Manchester, Lincolnshire and Ross on Wye, I returned home to play my last shows in and around Sussex. Here I am under the spotlight at the Trinity Theatre, Tunbridge Wells:’

Two shows were played with my quartet The Burning Deck. Corin Buckeridge, Stephen Hiscock, Gareth Huw Davies and I gathered around the Bicyclatter and played some tracks new and old including Triskellion from Rewilding and the recently re-released Wilbury Summer. The picture at the top is us at the Brighton Open Air Theatre...’

Before I get my deck chair out, I have one last concert at Ropetackle Arts Centre in Shoreham on Friday 28th July – a musical celebration to begin the summer holidays. I’ll be joined on stage by some old mates including Stephen and Gareth from The Burning Deck.’

Don’t forget to listen to Richard’s re-release of Wilbury Summer!

Meanwhile, have a great summer yourselves!

Music for Midsummer 2023

The first leg of the tour saw Richard cycle around 700 miles through some of the most beautiful Welsh and English countryside in perfect, unbroken sunshine…

To mark the summer solstice Richard is releasing a remastered version of his 1997 track Wilbury Summer. 

This is the original recording originally heard on The Summer E.P with Herbie Flowers on double bass, Nick Pynn on dulcimer and Tom Arnold on Hammond.

And to celebrate further he’ll be playing Wilbury Summer at all the remaining gigs and a selection of his other original tracks with his quartet The Burning Deck…

Meet The Burning Deck

Stephen Hiscock
Drums & Bicyclatter

Founder member of Ensemble Bash, Stephen has toured the world several times (once with Stewart Copeland!).

Stephen has worked regularly with Sarah Angliss and Harrison Birtwistle. He also composes and has released several solo albums. Stephen has played Richard’s creation The Bicyclatter as part of the Richard Durrant Orchestra and played the bicycles on Richard’s album Cycling Music.

Gareth Huw Davis

Gareth has performed all over the world collaborating with and recording for Graham Coxon, Sir Willard White, Simple Minds, Chrissie Hynde, Echo and the Bunnymen, Charlie Dore, the Tootsie Rollers and the BBC National Orchestra of Wales.

Gareth and Richard first worked together in The Richard Durrant Orchestra in 2017/18 and have collaborated ever since – notably on Daisy Durrant’s lockdown videos where he totally stole the show with his Reasons to be Cheerful bass line!

Corin Buckeridge 

A composer and instrumentalist, Corin has worked with Ian Drury,  Trevor Nunn, Charlton Heston and written music for the RSC (and so many others).

Corin studied at Oxford, conducts in the West End and has released several solo albums. Some of Richard’s earliest gigs were with his mate Corin when they were in their mid teens!

The tour begins again at Brighton Open Air Theatre on Midsummer’s day (21st June 7pm), continuing further dates in the south east.

Richard on tour 2023

The sun shone brightly for Richard Durrant’s first week of concerts as he cycled through North Wales, Manchester, The Midlands and Herefordshire…

‘It’s so wonderful to be out and about playing this beautiful music to so many people. Also nice to have a mention by Petroc Trelawney on BBC Radio 3.’

Says Richard

Above: Richard at the Theatre Clwyd
Below: all set and ready to go and performing at the Stoller Hall, Manchester

Below: with schoolchildren from St. Margaret’s Primary School in Stoke Golding

The tour continues to Malmesbury Abbey in Wiltshire before south west venues in Taunton and Newton Abbott, and then over to a series of concerts in the South East.

Bass Clef

What’s the connection between Richard Durrant’s Music for Midsummer Concert Tour and this giant Bass Clef?

As Richard sets off for his annual Midsummer tour, a look at the map shows that his route looks rather like a giant Bass Clef. Starting in North Wales he heads across to Manchester before looping down towards south Devon.

After a short break the tour resumes in Sussex with further concerts including the annual Solstice celebration at Brighton Open Air Theatre with Richard’s quartet, The Burning Deck.

Friday 19th May
Theatre Clwyd, Mold

Sunday 21st May
Stoller Hall, Manchester Guitar Festival

Wednesday 24th May
St Margaret’s Church, Stoke Golding

Friday 26th May
The Corn Exchange, Ross-on-Wye

Saturday 27th May
Malmesbury Abbey

Thursday 1st June
Taunton Brewhouse

Saturday 3rd June
Abbotsbury Church Newton Abbott

Wednesda 21st June
Brighton Open Air Theatre

Friday 23rd June
Trinity Theatre, Tunbridge Wells

Saturday 24th June
Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford

Sunday 25th June
St John the Baptist, Clayton

Wed 28th June
St Peter’s Church, Bexhill-on-Sea Bexhill Festival Music

The Tour will also form part of some great UK music festivals this summer.

This year’s programme is pure, concentrated Durrant, with its intricate and ornate folk baroque guitar works and the occasional splash of Spain and South America. You can hear JS Bach at his most unadulterated ringing out in crystal clear tones on the Supertenorukulele.

‘I feel that this selection of music clearly shows where I’m at right now.  It also makes the most of these beautiful instruments – we understand each other! Meanwhile my bicycle is primed, ready and purring with anticipation.’

Says Richard

Watch Richard’s pre-tour offering with part three of his guitar solo The Sleep of a King.

Unleashed on British Isles

This month marks the 20th Anniversary relaunch of the children’s  album Unleashed on British Isles by Paul Kelly and Richard Durrant…

Unleashed is a collection of British Isles folk songs for children of all ages. The recordings are colourful, vivid – almost cinematic with acoustic instruments, home spun sound effects and layers of rich vocals enriching the stories in such classic songs as My BonnyWiddecombe Faire, The Gypsy Rover and The Golden Vanity.

On May 1st their version of Drunken Sailor will appear on all streaming platforms, followed by two other tracks from the album. The entire production will then be available for all to enjoy – children and adults alike!

‘I immediately knew that Paul had something special and his involvement with children’s music particularly chimed with me. With my three young children running around and a fourth on the way I felt that Paul and I could create something special that would celebrate these happy, adventurous times.’

Says Richard

American born Paul Kelly has mixed a career as an international opera singer and a children’s music composer and producer. He initially approached Richard to appear on one of his recordings. They became friends and ended up writing and recording two albums together.

Recording Unleashed on British Isles with Richard was, and still is, one of the high points in my musical life. It’s right up there with performing at La Scala, and a hell of a lot more fun.’

Says Paul Kelly

Drunken Sailor is now live on iTunes and Amazon and available on all streaming platforms including Spotify.

Did you know?

Throughout the 1990’s and into the early 2000’s Richard was very involved with children’s music…

Remember Watch?

This led to several years as a writer for both Watch and its sister programme Numbertime. His many songs were heard by a generation of children – including his own!

Richard’s first encounter with BBC Schools Television came in 1994 as guest presenter on the long running series Watch

Remember Metalheads?

This 26 episode cartoon series was made by Telemagination and screened on CBBC from 2003.

Richard composed the music for the series with fellow musician Richard Attree  from the BBC Radiophonic Workshop. Both the Richard’s had studied at the Royal College of Music but only met when Richard Attree moved to Shoreham Beach.

Music for Midsummer

Announcing the full list of dates and venues for Richard’s Midsummer Tour 2023…

This will be the fifth time Richard will be pedalling across the country to perform his sensational Midsummer show – complete with all his kit on his bicycle.

Not only does that help minimise the carbon emissions of the tour, it also provides an opportunity to draw attention to the climate crisis.

Here is the full story of Richard’s very first Cycling Music Tour filmed entirely on an iPhone 5 in the summer of 2014:

The 2023 tour kicks off at Theatr Clwyd in North Wales on Friday 19 May. Two days later he is appearing at the Manchester Guitar Festival before playing a number of wonderful venues on his way to South Devon before he heads for home with a string of gigs in Sussex.

For some of the Sussex dates, including Brighton Open Air Theatre on the Summer Solstice, Richard will appear with his band The Burning Deck.

Watch out for a special announcement on this soon!

About the music

On the Gary Southwell bog oak guitar Richard will play his own works Book of Spells and The Sleep of a King, alongside choice works by Paraguayan guitarist Agustin Barrios and Durrant versions of JS Bach. In addition, he will play JS Bach and British Isles folk on his Pete Howlett supertenor ukulele.

“My bicycle is not just a clean and cheap decision, it also quietly enhances the music.  The solitude of each ride allows me to concentrate on every note.”

Says Richard

You can listen to the Cycling Music album on Spotify. And don’t forget to follow Richard’s tour adventures on Facebook and Instagram.

Richard Durrant - Music for Midsummer 2023

Hotel del Lago, Asuncion

In the run up to two shows, The Number 26 Bus to Paraguay on 3 and 4 March, Richard Durrant continues the story of his Paraguayan adventures and his exploration of the music of Barrios…

Richard’s first trip to Paraguay was centred around the launch of The Number 26 Bus to Paraguay. The tour included a concert in the Teatro Municipal, Asuncion where Barrios himself had played many years previously. At one point during the concert, the performance was stopped to welcome Richard as an ‘Esteemed Visitor’ to the capital city.

The certificate still hangs on the studio wall. Amongst so many wonderful and unexpected events there was a lovely stand out moment for Richard.

After playing at a Barrios conference in the Hotel del Lago (pictured above) – a favourite haunt of Barrios – I was introduced to none other than Richard Stover who, years earlier had painstakingly transcribed and published most of Barrios’ solos.

Says Richard

As a student, Richard would save up to buy these books as they came out. During their meeting in Paraguay, ‘Rico’ and he got on splendidly and stayed in touch afterwards.

Sadly, Richard Stover passed away in 2019 at the age of 74. He was an important figure in the Barrios story and is much missed. 

Shortly after Richard Durrant’s concert Richard Stover wrote the following:

Extremely musical and expressive, with virtuosity to spare. I am speaking of Richard Durrant, English guitarist who recently visited Paraguay. The public acclaimed him not only because he presented an all-Barrios program (which he played superlatively), but also because of his passion and tenderness, qualities that he communicates through his magnificent playing of the classic guitar.

Durrant is a musician of depth who can play a variety of musical styles, from the Concierto de Aranjuez with the Royal Philharmonic, to popular music and jazz. Here is a mature musician of extraordinary technical prowess. 

Richard Stover
Barrios biographer and ethnomusicologist (Caacupé, 2011)

Later came The Girl at the Airport album.Richard wrote the title track to celebrate the romance of touring abroad.

The Girl At The Airport

If you have a Spotify account you can listen to the music.

For this final album in the trilogy Richard wrote the title track The Girl at the Airport for guitar and string orchestra.

“I imagined flying out of Shoreham Airport bound for Paraguay aboard a white Dakota clutching my guitar case and a bundle of manuscripts. I’d stepped out of a Graham Greene novel and I could hear that string section behind my guitar long before I booked the orchestra. All I had to do was write it down.

Says Richard

Albums and book
No 26 to Paraguay

Two upcoming solo performances in March celebrate the music of the great Paraguayan guitar master Agustin Barrios…

‘Barrios (1885-1944) is the greatest guitarist composer we have ever had, and Paraguay is the most mysterious place I have ever been. I still dream of the adventures I had there, the music I discovered and the friends I made.’

Says Richard

This winter, Richard has been warming up his guitar playing by revisiting the music from his trilogy of Paraguayan albums which grew out of his various visits to the country which started in 2011.  And the result will be two fabulous shows in Sussex and Suffolk.

A hero’s welcome for Richard in Barrios’ birthplace Villa Florida, May 2011

In these two shows Richard will share tales and music from his own musical journey and the inspiration he found both in Agustin Barrios and the Paraguayan musicians who followed.

Richard as guest soloist rehearsing with the City of Asuncion Symphony Orchestra to celebrate the re-opening of the British Embassy in Paraguay.

The abiding musical presence of Barrios led to Richard performing at the country’s bicentenary celebrations in Spring 2011. This began a lasting relationship with South American music and Richard being widely recognised as one of the world’s greatest interpreters of the works of Barrios.

‘In April 2011 arrived in Paraguay for the first time. It was a country I’d imagined for most of my life; this was my mythological land.  Straight from the airport, under an azure sky, we headed for the centre of Asunción, the capitol city; our three car motorcade overtook antiquated, parrot coloured buses packed full of Agustín Barrios lookalikes. The cousins and second cousins of Nitsuga Mangoré grinned at me from street corners.’

From The Number 26 Bus to Paraguay

Richard’s solo trilogy of Paraguayan albums, his book of music, stories & pictures and the duet album with harpist Ismael Ledesma are all available at our online shop (the albums are on CD or as hi-rez audio downloads).

French Guitar Adventurers 2023

This year’s one and only French Guitar Adventurers’ holiday is taking place from 23 April and with a fresh new look…

The week is a chance to further understand and develop the fundamentals of your technique in a supportive group setting. 

As well as receiving personal tuition from Richard Durrant, you will have time to work on your music theory skills, play in guitar ensembles and develop sight reading skills whilst building confidence for the end of week performance.

This is the first of our new springtime FGAs which come with a slightly different emphasis on technique and reading skills (see * below).

In the weeks leading up to the holiday each participant will receive a preparatory one to-one-session with Richard to ensure they get the most out of the week.

Some of the FGA participants and guests from 2022

The venue is a beautiful converted cognac house with a large outbuilding housing workshop space and comfortable, modern accommodation.

All dietary needs are covered, with splendid meals, an open air pool and long country walks in the secluded French countryside. 

The week is open to guitarists plus one guest. The nearest train station is Chalais, and the nearest airport Bordeaux.

Please contact Richard directly on for pricing or if you have any queries.

French Guitar Adventurers
The FGA venue is a beautiful converted cognac house

* Although we have welcomed many different styles of player over the years, we recommend that your playing standard is around about Grade 5 minimum.

At FGA your daily study and practise needs to take place on a nylon strung, classical style guitar preferably with a strap (a unique opportunity to learn to play with a strap whether standing or sitting – particularly recommended if you have ever suffered from back pain related to your playing).

The Polar Bear

With songs both new and old the five troubadours of Richard’s Christmas Band have been travelling through the frost and snow of another Musical Midwinter…

A highlight of this year’s show is Richard’s composition The Polar Bear, originally recorded in 2013 with the voice of Barry Cryer who, sadly, passed away earlier this year.

‘The passing of dear Baz, loved by so many, made me want to play this piece once again. He was wonderful to work with and his reading of the text cut straight to the heart of this story of climate change.’

Said Richard

Here’s the band pictured at one of the four sell-out concerts at the Ropetackle on 10 & 11 December…

There is still a chance to catch Richard, Amy, Brian and the Durrant brothers Django and Felix at Theatr Clwyd, Mold on 19 December.

Tickets are also available for the matinee only at Wilmington Church in Sussex on the 21 December as the evening has already sold out.

Here’s another one of the band at Toll Gavel, Beverley on 8 December…

Don’t miss this uniquely beautiful and musical show as Richard and friends celebrate this magical time of the year with old favourites and carols alongside a mix of some great original music.

Wherever you are – Richard and his Christmas band join together to wish you a Magical Solstice, a Happy Christmas and a New Year full of good times.