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

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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. 

Candlelit Christmas Concert 2021

Yes, it’s just over 6 weeks to go until Richard Durrant heralds the start of the Christmas season with his family-friendly candlelit tour featuring great music and special guests…

With Christmas songs and wintry Folk, traditional carols and solo guitar music this tour promises a welcome seasonal feast and the first live tour for nearly two years.

And this Christmas tour has a fantastic line up: Richard will be joined by sons Django and Felix alongside  legendary musician Brian Gulland and much loved tour regular Amy Kakoura.

Amy Kakoura

Amy and Richard have been exploring midwinter together for nearly a decade, sharing their deep love of the season’s music (and a robust defiance of genre). With a heritage spanning Greece, Ireland and England,

Amy’s inimitable voice can evoke ancient medieval chant, folk, jazz & soul and has done so onstage in the UK and around the globe. Just this month she was a featured artist on BBC Radio 3’s Words and Music and recently composed music for this year’s Coventry City of Culture opening ceremony. 

Brian Gulland

The one and only Brian Gulland has joined the tour!  Once a Canterbury Chorister, Brian is a multi instrumentalist and composer who has performed with London Pro Musica, Musica Reservata, the New Scorpion Band and Malicorne. 

Brian is a founder member of legendary English mediaeval prog band Gryphon.  The Candlelit Christmas tour comes hot on the heels of a string of Gryphon dates.

Django & Felix Durrant

Django Durrant first joined the Christmas tour in 2019 on drums and percussion. This year he’ll also be taking on vocal duties and he has contributed a new song to the set list for the first time. 

On his first professional tour Djangos’ brother Felix will play bass guitar and keyboards.  Already a fine pianist Felix also composes, writes his own songs and plays guitar in various open tunings.

South Downs

Premiering this captivating 10 minute video of Richard Durrant’s latest composition for solo guitar inspired by the magical landscape and rich heritage of England’s South Downs.

The Crest The Coombe The Twitten is a guitar solo influenced as much by the English Folk Baroque style of John Renbourn and Bert Jansch as it is by Vaughan-Williams and Elgar.

The three movements express Richard Durant’s affinity with the Sussex countryside and the South Downs in particular. It was commissioned by artist Tony Sharp for his wife Jill.

The first movement, The Crest expresses two main things: the breathtaking beauty as seen from the highest points on the South Downs Way and the ‘busier’ aspects of a hilltop view – there is usually a lot going on!

Next comes The Coombe, inspired by the riverless valleys punctuating the downs. In this case somewhere to find refuge from the exposed downland trackway, but hung with mist and strange atmospheres.

The Twitten concludes the work by tracing the procession of ancient trackways that still survive as narrow alleyways through villages, towns and often housing estates. They can be mundane, neglected, often forgotten altogether but they often provide a link with the distant – even neolithic – past as well as a route back up onto the ridgeway of the long distance downland track.

Richard has spoken of chance encounters in the twittens of Hollingbury including an 11th century troubadour, a Persian Prince and various old school mates.

The Crest The Coombe The Twitten was produced by Richard with film maker Neil Pringle. The live guitar recording was filmed by Peter Lisney with sound recordist Felix Durrant. Watch out too for the cameo appearances by Brian Gulland, Frank Horsley, Louise Durrant and a hilltop flash mob!

We hope you have enjoy the film!

Richard Durrant - Colourscape

This Saturday, September 11 will see Richard Durrant perform two gigs in the one day – one at Europe’s most unusual arts festival – another at a festival based in a delightful West Sussex village:

Colourscape Music Festival,
Clapham Common, London

From 12.30 to 4.30 pm Richard Durrant will be joined by special guests Brian Gulland and Stephen Hiscock to perform Cycling Music.

The special 30 minute performances of Cycling Musicwill feature Stephen on Bicyclatter and Brian on harmonium and contra-bassoon with computer sequences and composer Richard on guitar.

The trio will also perform a series of improvisations using an unusual collection of instruments including the Berimbau, Bassoon & Banjo.

Also included will be some unaccompanied Bach performed by Richard on concert guitar and tenor guitar.

…and later that evening a solo recital at the Hurst Festival, Sussex

Richard Durrant

Our much-loved maverick guitarist continues the day with a return to Hurst Festival at 8pm with a fascinating evening of guitar music.  

The first half will feature guitar favourites from around the world whilst the second half will be a very English experience with Richard’s own music including an excerpt from Rewilding plus his latest solo work The Crest The Coombe The Twitten.

‘Richard’s new album Rewilding is beyond beautiful…’ 

Isabella Tree – author of best selling book Wilding